As always just before AIX Hamburg, it gets newsy and so it isn’t surprising that this week we have a lot for our readers to peruse. And, we fully expect the media to continue to build leading up to AIX and throughout the first few days of the show. As 2017 moves ahead, Boeing and Airbus are increasing their production efforts to catch up with orders (Backlog: Airbus = 6792 planes and Boeing = 5678 aircraft) while airplane purchases are thinning out. The near term IFEC market is looking good but the real question is what happens 3 years from now? Stay Tuned on this one as it will be interesting to see IFEC changes that integrate with a multiplicity of connected carry-on devices and technology innovations. And with that said, lets get started:
At this year’s AIX Lufthansa Systems will showcase exciting new features of its multiple award-winning IFE solution BoardConnect and its enhanced crew app mCabin. The user experience stands at the heart of new developments. Lufthansa Systems will present a major new release of BoardConnect with a new user interface. “Airlines can differentiate and easily adapt the UI without costly and time-consuming reprogramming. Furthermore, the BoardConnect architecture will become even more flexible – it is easy for airlines to personalize, add or remove features – making it the best platform for the connected aircraft. Our unique container technology allows to integrate applications for cabin, cockpit and crew in addition to IFE and connectivity.”
Lufthansa Systems further expands its existing partner network. Thus, airlines can benefit from this flexibility by tailoring their IFE offer to the needs of their target group, which ensures satisfied passengers and brings in additional revenues. At AIX Lufthansa Systems will announce new partnerships, which will provide additional services and functionalities. “Thanks to our latest technology upgrade BoardConnect becomes kind of a cloud provider in the sky hosting complete applications of third parties within the open platform. Additional services can be included fast and flexible. This enables airlines to enhance the digital experience of their passengers and supports them to complete their digital transformation goals. The new digital platform is available with or without connectivity. Lufthansa Group started the go-live of the new BoardConnect based connectivity service in Europe early 2017. Together with Lufthansa Technik and Inmarsat, Lufthansa Systems is currently equipping aircraft of Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings. During the show, Lufthansa Systems will give an update on the current roll-out projects for connectivity services and announce new customers.”
The company will also present a whole new mCabin product suite. The mobile solutions for cabin crews are perfect for supporting airlines of all sizes and business models in their process of digitalization. Prior to departure and during the flight, the mCabin crew app provides the cabin team with all of the flight and passenger service information they need. This is an app designed for excellent passenger communication, smooth crew management and optimal processes at every stage of the crew duty day. mCabin is available on Windows and iOS and has been further enhanced in its modularity. Airlines can select modules and thereby tailor mCabin according to their individual needs. mCabin/CityGuide is an exclusive guidebook platform for the crew with local information and tips about the crew’s destinations. Additionally, Lufthansa Systems has developed some great new features for mCabin and another separate app in the mCabin suite which will be presented at the AIX. In general, Lufthansa Systems sees an increased demand for a mobile solution like mCabin in the market with both passengers and crew members expecting a greater digital experience on board. During the show, Lufthansa Systems will give an update on further developments and planned cooperations regarding the mCabin suite. Visit Lufthansa Systems and learn more about BoardConnect at booth no #2E24
Gogo has reached a major milestone by installing its 3,000th commercial aircraft with in-flight connectivity. Today, the company has 3,000 commercial aircraft and more than 4,200 business aircraft, totaling 7,200 aircraft installed. More than 130 of the 3,000 commercial aircraft are now installed with Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology that leverages Gogo’s global satellite network. “The demand for in-flight connectivity continues to grow at a rapid pace and we are quickly moving beyond connecting passengers to connecting flight attendants, pilots and eventually components on the planes themselves,” said Michael Small, president and CEO at Gogo. “To meet this demand, Gogo has invested in the best broadband networks to meet the needs of global aviation — no matter the size of the aircraft or where that aircraft flies. “Most of the 7,200 aircraft are connected using Gogo’s North American ground network, but an increasing number of commercial aircraft are now flying on Gogo’s global satellite network.
2Ku relies on the new low profile, high efficiency Ku-band satellite antennas that outperform other connectivity solutions in the global aviation market. Since the announcement of Gogo’s 2Ku technology, 12 airlines representing more than 1500 aircraft have signed up for the service. Nearly all of these aircraft are expected to be installed by the end of 2018.
“Whether an aircraft is flying on our global satellite network or on our North American ATG network, we are delivering industry leading performance in terms of coverage, cost, capacity and reliability. With high-throughput satellites being added to our global network and an upgrade being made to our ATG network, both networks will bring even better performance in 2017 and beyond,” added Small.
Gogo, which provides aircraft connectivity, had revenue of $597 million in 2016, expects positive free cash flow in 2019, a year earlier than previous guidance, and expects 2Ku installs on 450 to 550 aircraft in 2017.
Thales, SES S.A. and Hughes Network Systems (HUGHES) announced a set of strategic agreements to enhance the delivery of FlytLIVE – Thales’ connected inflight experience solution, offering the most advanced and efficient aeronautical connectivity solution available in the Americas. Under the agreements, SES contracts capacity on Hughes EchoStar XVII and EchoStar XIX high throughput (HTS) Ka-band satellites to complement its AMC-15 and AMC-16 network giving FlytLIVE the only redundant coverage network in North America. SES will also purchase multiple JUPITER System gateways from Hughes to qualify Thales to deploy its FlytLIVE service on Hughes JUPITER Aeronautical platform. This will allow Thales to initiate its next-generation connected inflight experience offering in North America this year. Further, SES contracted Hughes for service on EchoStar XVII and EchoStar XIX HTS satellites, and combines them with its AMC-15 and AMC-16 network, to provide a four-satellite constellation for the launch of Thales FlytLIVE network. The four-satellite network strengthens Thales’ FlytLIVE network as it enters initial operations in 2017 and in advance of the milestone launch of SES-17 Ka-band HTS satellite, planned for 2020. Further, SES is to purchase multiple JUPITER System gateways from Hughes and contract ground segment operations to Hughes to bring seamless connectivity to Thales FlytLIVE network. SES will also purchase multiple Hughes JUPITER System gateways to support traffic carried over AMC-15 and AMC-16, as well as SES-17, when it enters service. FlyLIVE’s network will deliver industry leading speed and capacity for support of growing passenger service demands and will comfortably accommodate forecasted traffic increases through the launch of SES-17, which is manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and configured with close to 200 spot beams and coverage tailored to aviation and mobility markets. Lastly, we note that Thales selected Hughes JUPITER System Aeronautical platform for its next-generation IFC solution. At the center of the new service is Hughes high-performance JUPITER system that is already in operation for broadband enterprise and consumer services in other major markets globally and will be introduced for aeronautical use on the Thales FlytLIVE network. Unique features of the network include rapid beam-to-beam and satellite-to-satellite switching and DVB-S2x transmission. Thales has already begun service testing using its new Thales Ka-band aero antenna and the Hughes JUPITER technology.
Inmarsat has announced today that International Airlines Group (IAG) has signed a contract to be the launch customer of Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN). IAG plans to equip in excess of 300 aircraft with EAN and aims to have 90% of its short haul fleet complete by early 2019. Airlines include Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling with installation having already commenced on the British Airways fleet, with three aircraft fitted to date. EAN allows European passengers to use their personal devices for internet browsing, video streaming, gaming and other online services, with unmatched high capacity and is the first solution in the world to integrate connectivity from a satellite, operated by Inmarsat, and a complementary LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom.
Drop&Fly, SITA’s bag-drop unit, has been awarded the prestigious 2017 iF Design Award: Public Product, in recognition of its state-of-the-art design and intuitive user interface.
Drop&Fly provides passengers with an easy-to-use interface which makes checking-in bags a convenient and pleasant experience. Its one-step self-bag drop process, which allows passengers to print their tags and check-in their bags at the same time, delivers a fast, customer-centric passenger experience. It is fully customizable to the individual needs of the airport and its hybrid functionality enables a switch from self-service to an agent-assisted mode in a matter of seconds. The iF Design Award, recognized as a symbol of design excellence around the world, confirms SITA’s expertize in matching form and function.
- Stockholders approved the ROCKWELL COLLINS and B/E AEROSPACE merger.
- Kelvin Boyette’s Latitude Aero did the Aircraft Interiors promo right – he showed us where his booth is located
- And lastly, Geoff Underwood, CEO of IFPL has a second calling, sorta – Check it out!
Chicago | March 8, 2017– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading global provider of in-flight broadband connectivity and connectivity-enabled services to commercial and business aviation, has reached a major milestone by installing its 3,000th commercial aircraft with in-flight connectivity.
Today, the company has 3,000 commercial aircraft and more than 4,200 business aircraft, totaling 7,200 aircraft installed. More than 130 of the 3,000 commercial aircraft are now installed with Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology that leverages Gogo’s global satellite network.
“The demand for in-flight connectivity continues to grow at a rapid pace and we are quickly moving beyond connecting passengers to connecting flight attendants, pilots and eventually components on the planes themselves,” said Michael Small, president and CEO at Gogo. “To meet this demand, Gogo has invested in the best broadband networks to meet the needs of global aviation — no matter the size of the aircraft or where that aircraft flies.”
Most of the 7,200 aircraft are connected using Gogo’s North American ground network, but an increasing number of commercial aircraft are now flying on Gogo’s global satellite network.
2Ku relies on the new low profile, high efficiency Ku-band satellite antennas that outperform other connectivity solutions in the global aviation market. Since the announcement of Gogo’s 2Ku technology, 12 airlines representing more than 1500 aircraft have signed up for the service. Nearly all of these aircraft are expected to be installed by the end of 2018.
“Whether an aircraft is flying on our global satellite network or on our North American ATG network, we are delivering industry leading performance in terms of coverage, cost, capacity and reliability. With high-throughput satellites being added to our global network and an upgrade being made to our ATG network, both networks will bring even better performance in 2017 and beyond,” added Small.
The other day, we got a note from Robin Applebaum, APEX Marketing Communication Director we thought you might like to see: “I wanted to reach out to you today with some exciting news from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the International Flight Service Association (IFSA). This morning, APEX and IFSA announced a more tightly aligned relationship to better serve the global airline industry. This step will help to further solidify APEX as the industry’s most influential member-based organization dedicated to elevating the entire passenger experience; and will help IFSA to grow globally as the pivotal airline association of the catering and in-flight services market. While both APEX and IFSA will remain fully independent, this alliance triggers additional collaboration in the planning of association co-locations and events, joint working groups, reciprocal guest board member attendance at board meetings, as well as now having a common Chief Executive Officer serving both associations.”
When we asked for more background info, she responded: “As I am sure you are aware, APEX and the International Flight Service Association (IFSA), have had a long established ‘sister-association relationship.’ Last week’s announcement only serves to further align the two groups. As part of this strategic relationship, APEX will be leveraging IFSA to represent the foundation of the association’s catering and services sector. “This will not only help the association to grow its footprint, but will also further solidify APEX as the industry’s most influential member-based organization dedicated to elevating the entire passenger experience. For IFSA, aligning with APEX will help them to expand its reach globally, build additional strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations, and establish itself as the industry’s global representative of the growing catering and in-flight/onboard hospitality market.”
“Additionally, the inclusion of more catering and service elements at APEX events will attract greater numbers of senior airline decision makers who oversee this sector as well as IFE by offering a greater diversification of products, services and information. As demonstrated at APEX EXPO in Singapore, this type of approach yields an increase in potential customers for event exhibitors and other vendor participants. Finally, it will help to better position APEX events against the backdrop of assertive for-profit show competition.”
“To celebrate the fleet-wide upgrade to their new JAL SKY NEXT product, the airline will start offering free Wi-Fi on all equipped domestic flights from February 1, 2017 till August 31st 2017. Connectivity is provided through Gogo using our satellite Internet technology. You’ll find the SKY NEXT product on select 777 -300, 777-200, 767-300 and 737-800 aircraft. JAL was our first international customer, and we’ve been honored to partner with them since 2014 on connectivity and entertainment for their domestic passengers.
This promotion from JAL is just one of the latest to offer Gogo products and services free to their passengers. Last year, we partnered with T-Mobile to provide free Wi-Fi to their subscribers, and most recently, Alaska Airlines rolled out their Free ChatTM product which lets passengers access popular chat apps like iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp on their smartphone.
In addition to connectivity promotions, we also provide the technology allowing airlines to offer free wireless entertainment to their customers. The product, called Gogo Vision, streams movies and TV shows from our airborne server to most mobile devices, laptops and tablets. Movies and TV shows from Gogo Vision can now be found on more than 2800 aircaft on some the largest airlines in the world. Today, many of Gogo’s airline partners are offering all or some of the content free to passengers.”
Aviation Satcom provider, AirSatOne, announces lower rates for its SwiftBroadband connectivity. Taking care of customers is a top priority at AirSatOne and one reason why the company maintains a 99% customer retention rate. So when Inmarsat, the leader in global satellite communications, lowered its prices AirSatOne was quick to pass the savings on to its customers.
Customers using AirSatOne as their service provider have access to its custom global network for the same price as the generic network used by the competition. AirSatOne’s custom network includes worldwide teleports and IP PoP (Internet Point of Presence) with advanced network security and our globally deployed Flightstream SA which provides web filtering, compression, consumption tracking and firewall customized for mobile communications.
“We think this is an exciting time for the Satcom market. With more and more operators and executives finding it essential to conduct business and stay in sync with the home office while traveling, we hope reducing airtime charges will encourage more aircraft owners to invest in installing Satcom systems in their aircraft,” says Kremsreiter. Satcom systems work everywhere (except at the poles) so in addition to increasing productivity, Satcom hardware increases the aircraft’s value and worldwide marketability when it comes time to sell.
Airlines and airports are investing in technologies to help predict and prepare for future events. This is according to The Future is Predictable, a report published today by air transport IT provider, SITA. It outlines how efforts are being made to tackle the estimated US$25 billion cost of flight disruptions to the air transport industry by harnessing artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, predictive analytics and other progressive technical capabilities.
SITA’s analysis reveals that predictive tools using artificial intelligence and cognitive computing are likely to be adopted by half of airlines and airports over the coming five to 10 years. However, a few front runners are already trialing predictive modeling, machine learning, and data mining. These efforts are mainly focused on initiatives that will provide passengers with more relevant information about their journey to create more seamless and personal experiences.
During 2017, SITA Lab will be validating delay predictions with airlines and airports and expects to complete up to five trials with its industry partners. The next stage will be to incorporate its delay prediction algorithm and disruption warning feeds into SITA’s services to the air transport industry. In the report, leading airports and airlines share their experiences including Gatwick Airport where a seamless passenger experience from curb to gate is the goal. Here several different areas of airport activity are tracked to measure performance and move towards predicting it.
As artificial intelligence develops the importance of maintaining the human touch is not lost on the airlines and airports. Indeed, the combination of people and artificial intelligence is described as transforming the travel experience. The science of artificial intelligence is developing quickly and airlines and airports are turning to the academic community to help them with predictive tools to tackle disruptions. SITA’s report discusses research that is being carried out with scientists from Binghamton University, State University of New York; University of Nottingham as part the European Union-funded consortium PASSME; Carnegie Mellon University; Oxford University’s Data Science Laboratory in the Mathematical Institute and University College London School of Management.
The Future is Predictable combines SITA’s global industry experience and studies with commentary and case studies from airports and airlines that are investing in the latest research and technologies.
New Zealand-based audio equipment and technology developer Phitek Systems has been sold to New York-listed Amphenol Corp, providing an exit for a number of domestic VC investors. Phitek’s previous backers include Direct Capital-managed TMT Ventures and Stephen Tindal’s K1W1 investment vehicle. TMT, which has been invested since 2005, has a direct 27 per cent and a 14 per cent holding shared with the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund. Meanwhile, K1W1 owns 39 per cent. Phitek designs and supplies aircraft in-flight entertainment interconnect products for the commercial aerospace industry. You can read more here.
Luftahansa Technik has announced a two-in-one solution (TIOS) antenna radome for the Boeing 737-700 and -800. The antenna, installed on the vertical stabilizer to reduce drag and positively affect the aircraft’s center of gravity, will make it possible to install Ka-band antennas to provide high-speed internet, TV connections and a high-definition camera. The radome is up to 200 lb. (100 kg) lighter than the original and is FAA validated and has an EASA Supplemental Type Certification. You can find satellite communication options, products, services and companies in MRO Links, MRO-Network.com’s searchable directory.
TIOS – Two antennas under one radome – YouTube
- Rich Salter told IFExpress: “Re: data transmission via light (LiFi), I just signed on to Moderate a session at AIX’ Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) on April 3 in Hamburg. It is the Tech Horizons session (last one of the day) in the Connected Journey track, and one of the presenters is Prof Harald Haas of Edinburgh who is founder of PureLiFi – and he coined the term “LiFi” too.”
- Richie Sugimoto reports that Aircraft Cabin Systems has just received Certification of ISO9001 and AS9100 – Congratulations!
- The death of IFE? The death of in-flight entertainment? American Airlines scraps screens and tells fliers to bring their own
- Cabin networks and Wi-Fi feature in Crystal Cabin Awards 2017
- Is this starting to smell funny? Delta Halts U.S. Flights as Another Computer Failure Strikes – Bloomberg
Brussels Airlines introduced a new passenger service system in 2016. To make its departure control and adjacent applications accessible from the respective CUTE systems at each of the airports in its network, the Belgian airline is using cFront/LAGUNA from Lufthansa Systems. CUTE stands for Common Use Terminal Equipment. This software enables airlines to make shared use of airport IT infrastructures. This means that different airlines can use the same hardware to access their own servers for passenger and flight handling. The cFront/LAGUNA adapter software helps standardize the different versions of the CUTE systems.
“We have more than 100 destination airports in our route network. As an airline, it isn’t possible for us to develop interfaces for every version of CUTE and acquire the necessary certifications. This is why we are relying on the expertise of Lufthansa Systems,” said Paul Rogiers, Delivery Manager Outstations/IT at Brussels Airlines.
For many years, Lufthansa Systems has offered airlines comprehensive CUTE services – from setting up the applications to carrying out updates and maintenance. cFront/LAGUNA was modified by the experts to meet the specific needs of the Lufthansa Group. The software is based on the CUTE solution known as cGroup. It accesses an airline’s IT systems in a smooth, standardized way and supports all leading CUTE platforms as well as the new standards for Common Use Passenger Processing Systems (CUPPS). In addition to Brussels Airlines, other airlines in the Lufthansa Group are also using cFront/LAGUNA. This means different airlines in the Group can benefit from a shared check-in system if necessary. Users can access the system from anywhere with a web app. cFront/LAGUNA also offers monitoring functions that provide an overview of the status at all CUTE and CUPPS airports and enables the responsible management team to intervene quickly in the event of a disruption.
“Thanks to the shared certification and provision of cFront/LAGUNA, the Group solution was already available at many of the airports in Brussels Airlines’ network. During the implementation, we simply had to add the information specific to Brussels Airlines. This saved money and ensured a fast launch,” said Bjoern Steinbrecher, Head of cGroup Solutions at Lufthansa Systems.
Established in 2002, Brussels Airlines from Belgium is part of the Lufthansa Group and a member of the Star Alliance. With a fleet of 49 aircraft, Brussels Airlines connects the European capital of Brussels with more than 100 destinations in Europe, Africa, India and North America.”
On a similar subject, Vision-Box also has automated airport passenger electronic control devices. We realize this is not IFEC, but you are going to see a lot of this ground-based technology in the future. Since this technology free’s up a lot of people, border and airport automated technologies will increase for identifying passengers and visitors and a recent release about a Caribbean airport at St. Maarten caught our eye. “Juliana International Airport just upgraded to the new Vision-Box™ which is a self-service biometric Automated Border Control eGates intended to modernize the process, improve the security of the identification procedure, and expedite passenger flow at one more stage of the passenger journey across the airport!” The news release went on: “vb i-match ™ ABC eGates have now recently announced a seamless passenger journey designed by Vision-Box ™, joining the existing vb i-match ™ security checkpoint gates installed in the first phase of the project. Together, these solutions are streamlining identification processes for departing passengers, when entering airside and clearing immigration.” We also understand that the arrival of biometric ABC technology at SMX (Juliana) Airport means that after successfully entering airport side by using vb i-match ™ security checkpoint eGates, passengers crossing the border will be able to complete the entire immigration process in a few seconds using customer-centric, self service touchpoint vb i-match ™ ABC”. Here is how it works: “Once at the eGate, the passenger will first scan their ePassport, where facial biometric information from the echip is scanned and matched with a live facial image capture of the passenger. Once all identification and safety checks have been successfully conducted, the passenger is allowed to clear immigration. At the forefront of modernizing the immigration clearance procedure is cutting-edge fraud detection and self-clearing biometric identification capabilities, using an advanced eGate security algorithm authenticating the passengers ePassport and identifying identity through multiple fraud and security operations, which just takes a few seconds.” We note that “Newly appointed airport ambassadors are there to greet and guide travelers in the use of the eGates, additionally to the support of a passenger-centered, expertly designed user Interface, oriented towards the success of the operation! Additionally, every passenger transaction is closely monitored by an immigration officer using vb inspector ™, a monitoring system giving the officers immediate information on each passenger’s identity and transaction status, detecting identity fraud, leveraging biometric and biographic information during real-time checks of intelligence and criminal databases, and instantly alerting border officers in case of an emergency.”
Editor’s Note: If you think there is not enough electronics in the airport departure and entry areas, you need to keep your eye on companies like Lufthansa Systems and Vision-Box. www.vision-box.com. Here is another link about the coming technology.
We recently came across an interesting website about the use of Android apps for passenger devices.
While a bit old (2014 – 2015) we note their comments: “The average customer rating across Apple App Store and Google Play for the 12 major European airlines included in this study grew from 3.2 to 3.6 (on 1 to 5 scale) between January 2014 and October 2015. And you guessed it – this app stuff is getting a lot more important to travelers.
Airlines aiming at increasing personalization are aware of the importance of mobile apps. However, a prerequisite to unleashing new streams of ancillary revenues through tailored offers is offering an outstanding digital user experience.” The app importance is noted in the link above, but tnooz said: “The average customer rating across Apple App Store and Google Play for the 12 major European airlines included in this study grew from 3.2 to 3.6 (on 1 to 5 scale) between January 2014 and October 2015. While the airline average was around 3.1 to 3.6 (or lower) a reader sent us LATAM’s score (a few months old) – 4.0 Google/4.0 Apple – Guess who designed it? If you said Zii, you win!
And speaking of Zodiac Aerospace, Safran will buy them and merge the two companies with lots of financial machinations if all the business offers are accepted. In the end, Safran landing gear, nacelle, power systems, actuators and avionics would be combined with the Zodiac seats, cabin interiors, power distribution, lighting, safety, and oxygen/fluid/safety equipment.
Here are the involved Zodiac companies: Heath Tecna, Contour Aerospace, IMS (Zii), NAT, TriaGnoSys, PPP, and Greenpoint Technologies.
One expert said that the message here is clear, Safran see’s the future of electrical and avionic involvement in in aircraft. We believe, because of their native product differences, that management selection will be very critical as the two companies are so different and almost opposite talents. It is worth noting that the combined company would have about 92,000 employees and we understand Safran purchase is estimated to be approximately $9.5 Billion. Interestingly, Safran attempted this acquisition in 2010. FYI, if the deal goes through, Safran will be number three Tier 1 supplier behind GE and United Technologies. However, the purchase is still subject to shareholder approval and if so it will close at the end of 2017/ 1st Qtr. 2018. Stay Tuned.
Gogo announced that it has promoted Jon Cobin to Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Gogo. Cobin has served in a leadership position at Gogo for six years, most recently as head of strategy and global sales for Gogo’s commercial aviation division. In his new role, he will continue to manage strategy and sales, but will take on the added responsibilities of managing Gogo’s product and marketing teams. Under Jon’s leadership the company has experienced numerous successes, including adding more than 1,000 2Ku aircraft to the backlog in 2016. “Gogo is at the forefront of technology development and innovation and combining our strategy group with product, sales and marketing enables us to better align the organization around meeting the needs of our global airline partners,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “Jon’s proven leadership makes him the right person for this role.” Congratulations Jon!
JetBlue announced the completion of its fleet-wide Fly-Fi installations and they said: “Fly-Fi is the revolutionary Wi-Fi service offered to JetBlue passengers for free across the carrier’s 227 aircraft, including Airbus A320s, A321s and Embraer 190s. This Wi-Fi offering was developed by Thales InFlyt Experience to meet JetBlue’s expectation to offer connectivity services for every seat, on every aircraft. This service allows passengers to connect and remain connected from gate-to-gate. With the completion of these installations, Thales has again enhanced the passenger experience for JetBlue by providing high-bandwidth connectivity services that complement existing stored and live in-flight entertainment products.” For additional details on this service, please refer to this JetBlue press release.
Global Eagle Entertainment, CA secured a $500m senior-secured term-loan facility and a new $85m senior-secured revolving credit facility.
This came into us after publishing last Tuesday. It is a prediction submission from FlightPath3D: “We predict 2017 as the year the industry finally recognizes the PAX audience as the most highly coveted demographic for advertisers and begins real & sustained efforts to bridge the gap between them.”
An unnamed IFExpress reporter told us: “Yesterday, I spoke with a friend of mine at (US) FCC and he confirmed that there will be organizational structure changes within. The alleged purpose is to “streamline” the licensing process. We’ll see. I have my doubts with any Federal bureaucracy. However, it could make for an interesting scenario with the 14 GHz air-to-ground license auctions. I suspect the license costs will go higher. Notwithstanding the purported organization changes, with every presidential transition period, he told me, from Republican – to – Democrat, or vice versa, or has about a 3-4 month period when almost nothing happens.” We concur.
You gotta see this – it might work! The Worst Seat on a Plane Gets Better: New Middle Seats
Chicago, IL | January 19, 2017– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has promoted Jon Cobin to Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Gogo.
Cobin has served in a leadership position at Gogo for six years, most recently as head of strategy and global sales for Gogo’s commercial aviation division. In his new role, he will continue to manage strategy and sales, but will take on the added responsibilities of managing Gogo’s product and marketing teams.
Under Jon’s leadership the company has experienced numerous successes, including adding more than 1,000 2Ku aircraft to the backlog in 2016.
“Gogo is at the forefront of technology development and innovation and combining our strategy group with product, sales and marketing enables us to better align the organization around meeting the needs of our global airline partners,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “Jon’s proven leadership makes him the right person for this role.”
Prior to Gogo, Cobin served as the head of strategy at Centennial Communications and held positions of increasing responsibility as a strategy consultant at Dean & Company and in investment banking at J.P. Morgan. He received his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, from Dartmouth College.
Chicago, IL | December 20, 2016– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ:GOGO) announced the commencement of a private offering of $50 million aggregate principal amount of additional 12.500% senior secured notes due 2022 (the “Additional Notes”) to be issued by its direct wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Intermediate Holdings LLC (the “Issuer”), and its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Finance Co. Inc. (the “Co-Issuer” and, together with the Issuer, the “Issuers”). The initial 12.500% Senior Secured Notes due 2022 were issued in an aggregate principal amount of $525 million on June 14, 2016 (the “Initial Notes”). The Additional Notes and the Initial Notes will be treated as the same series for all purposes under the indenture and collateral agreements that govern the Initial Notes and will govern the Additional Notes. The Additional Notes will be guaranteed on a senior secured basis by Gogo Inc. and all of the existing and future domestic restricted subsidiaries of the Issuer (other than the Co-Issuer), subject to certain exceptions (the “Guarantors”). The Additional Notes and the related guarantees will be secured by first priority liens on substantially all of the Issuers’ and the Guarantors’ assets, including pledged equity interests of the Issuers and the Guarantors. There can be no assurance that the proposed offering of Additional Notes will be completed.
The Issuer intends to use the net proceeds from the sale of the Additional Notes for working capital and other general corporate purposes.
The Additional Notes and the guarantees will be offered in a private offering exempt from the registration requirements of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The Additional Notes and the guarantees will be offered only to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act and to non-U.S. persons outside the United States in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act.
The Additional Notes and the guarantees have not been registered under the Securities Act and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state laws.
This press release is for informational purposes only and is not an offer to sell or purchase nor the solicitation of an offer to sell or purchase securities and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any state or jurisdiction in which, or to any person to whom, such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.
- Performance and Ease of Accessibility Offered by First Intelsat EpicNG Satellite Enable Gogo to Begin Immediate Delivery of Improved Infight Wi-Fi for Passengers
Luxembourg | November 17, 2016– Intelsat (NYSE: I), operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, announced that Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, has signed an agreement for services on the Intelsat 29e satellite.
Gogo will use high-throughput services from the first satellite in the global Intelsat EpicNG network to deliver inflight Wi-Fi service to passenger airplanes operating in the heavily traveled North Atlantic route. The connectivity provided by Intelsat 29e, which began operations earlier this year, will deliver bridge services for Gogo until Intelsat 32e becomes operational in 2017. Intelsat is also providing Gogo with IntelsatOne managed services via its Mountainside, Maryland teleport.
In March 2016, Gogo signed an agreement for Intelsat to deliver next generation in-flight connectivity services via multi-layered Ku-band services on the Intelsat EpicNG satellites combined with OneWeb’s planned low earth orbit satellite constellation. Coverage will include high-performance connectivity provided by Intelsat 32e, Intelsat 33e and Horizons 3e.
“The performance of the Intelsat EpicNG satellites demonstrates the value of high-throughput satellite technology,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “When factoring in the ease of integration to Intelsat EpicNG services, we opted to begin services with Intelsat 29e immediately and transition to Intelsat 32e when it becomes operational. We look forward to expanding our reach as more Intelsat EpicNG satellites become available.”
Intelsat 33e will expand Gogo’s services across Europe, the Middle East and Asia when it begins service in the first quarter of 2017 at 60° East, and the Horizons 3e spacecraft will create a true global HTS service for Gogo when it begins operations over the Asia-Pacific region in 2018.
“Intelsat is delivering on the promise of HTS with Intelsat EpicNG, with a unique design that provides immediate improvement in performance of up to 165 percent,” said Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler. “Customers are easily transitioning to the platform, validating our backwards-compatible, open-architecture design, and this enables Gogo to begin delivering broadband-enabled inflight Wi-Fi services in the North Atlantic today. We’re proving every day that the higher performance, improved economics and simplified access delivered by Intelsat EpicNG position aeronautical service providers to rapidly scale networks on a global basis, while staying ahead of explosive data-performance requirements.”
Orlando, FL NBAA | November 1, 2016– Rockwell Collins and Gogo® have entered into an agreement to expand the availability of Rockwell Collins’ industry-leading Airshow® Moving Map into the business aviation market segment. Rockwell Collins will license its Airshow Mobile application to Gogo for business aviation cabin solutions.
“Airshow continues to spread its wings across the aviation industry as the No. 1-used moving map application, and since making it a mobile application that personalizes the passenger experience, its popularity is exponentially increasing,” said Greg Irmen, vice president and general manager, Flight Controls and Information Systems for Rockwell Collins. “Working with Gogo gives us another great channel to market for Airshow, and an opportunity for us to help Gogo provide its customers with more options to deliver the information they want.”
“Gogo is focused on meeting the needs of our customers and continues to expand the breadth of third-party applications it offers on business aviation aircraft to provide a suite of services for business travelers,” said Sergio Aguirre, general manager of Gogo Business Aviation. “Airshow is one of the most popular apps in the market and is a nice addition to our lineup of applications.”
Rockwell Collins’ Airshow Mobile solution has been optimized for iOS® and Android devices to deliver real-time flight information to passengers, including these features:
- Interactive roaming, zooming and navigation of the globe
- High-resolution Landsat satellite imagery map set
- Unique, interactive panoramic and pilot heads-up display views
Airshow Mobile will be offered by Gogo in the second quarter of 2017.
While we did not necessarily expect large changes in IFEC at a show the size of APEX Singapore, we were wrong – there is a lot going on in the way of change pertaining to the world of cabin experiences. The big driver of course is what passengers bring on the airplane and their expectations of how air travel will be a continuation of their ground experiences and lifestyle. This would explain the need for better connectivity on the aircraft and the increase in demand for connectivity based solutions. Another area that appears to be growing is demand for engaging the passenger throughout the travel experience – from the initial ticket purchase all the way to arrival at their destination. The goal is to engage the passenger in an end-to-end experience. This is being facilitated by the airline apps now available, as well as, the various connectivity solutions that are permeating both the airport and the aircraft. With the availability of real-time data analytics the airlines can finally interact with their travelers seamlessly throughout the entire journey. The message here is data, and a lot of it. This expansion is creating new products, services, new jobs, and a new way to capture the aviation business. Consequently, the passenger, the airplane, and the airline are all operating as if the aircraft were ‘tethered to a gatelink on the ground’ – the next industry growth phase will include more data about the passenger, more data about their travel experience, more data about the aircraft, and we can thank connectivity for bring about these changes.
1) Airlines are looking more and more to connectivity and Wi-Fi for their single-aisle solutions, as well as, their twin-aisle aircraft. Wi-Fi and connectivity are critical for both the connected aircraft and engaging the passenger throughout all aspects of the trip.
2) With the proliferation of handheld, semi-embedded and Pax PED devices we saw an increase in agile, brandable software/GUI.
3) With the advent of true broadband coming into service we saw IFE vendors embracing the availability of a large pipe by offering aircraft operations evaluation real-time, as well as, passenger services.
4) New methods of power delivery as well as capability with the latest upgrade in USB based power. In fact, Inseat USB power is now the expectation – and USB C is here now too! Obviously, this demand is to support the connectivity/PEDs brought onboard the aircraft by the passengers, among others.
5) There is a growing market for a lower cost connectivity solution for smaller amounts of data or chat style connectivity. At the show we saw 2 new ground based connectivity solutions being developed and another that was based on Bluetooth.
Gogo celebrated 25 years in business (1991 – 2016)! Congratulations may the next 25 be even more momentous. One of the technology surprises was the newly announced network that will use unlicensed spectrum, a proprietary modem and a new beam-forming antenna to produce peak network speeds of more than 100 Mbps. This next generation ground-based network for the aero market will utilize LTE technology and leverage Gogo’s existing first generation North American network and infrastructure of more than 250 towers. “Gogo’s next generation network will also be backward-compatible with Gogo’s first generation network, which means an aircraft will be able to seamlessly switch between Gogo’s two networks similar to how a cell phone on the ground connects to the fastest available network,” said Anand Chari, CTO of Gogo. The benefits of the network for commercial aircraft operating within the United States and Canada include: low equipment cost and weight, overnight installation, and low drag on the aircraft due to the small size of the antennas. It also has big advantages in terms of latency compared to satellite solutions. It should be noted, that this system is using the same frequency as 802.11 – the 2.4 GHz band but the solution is not Wi-Fi as such. Gogo did not go into any description of the modulation technique used. We point out that the press release that was distributed in late September on this subject came out on the same day as SmartSky released theirs – interesting!
FTS is probably the newest full system IFEC provider in the industry today. At the show they announced that their Wi-Fi IFE system is already flying on China Southern’s 737 for a trial, and will be flying on another airline in Asia and a North America-based carrier in the near term. While the company is in the midst of a market re-branding and product renaming, their young engineering team impressed us with their understanding of an inflight connectivity solution and some potential new products that we have yet to see on an aircraft. The company is focusing on the B737 family and A320 family aircraft and are targeting small airlines and LCC’s to get their product off the ground. Basically, the company is in the start-up phase and moving very rapidly into the IFEC realm. They have brought on some industry notables to help facilitate this goal: Darrel Chua (GM, Singapore FTS); Rich Salter, CTO; Ben Fuller, Director of Marketing for the Americas; and Jack Sunabe, Director of Program Management. Here is an image of the team in their booth at APEX.
Their next generation Wi-Fi entertainment and information system is fully FAA/EASA compliant and supports 802.11 ac standards. The system is ultra-light weight, which greatly reduces fuel burn when compared to legacy IFE systems. The system requires one or two Cabin Wireless Access Points (CWAPs) to cover the entire cabin. This interacts with their General Network Server which uses high-capacity SSD drives to support HD media streaming, as well as the latest applications. Their Terminal Wireless Cellular Unit (TWCU) is for multi-band 3G/4G cellular data communication, activated when the aircraft is on the ground, and can be used for content update and usage data offload. Also, we should mention they exhibited a nifty smartwatch for flight attendants that served as the CMT.
Wi-Fi, while not sexy unto itself, controls the cost and manufacturing requirements and quality of the system that a new entrant can handle. More importantly, since all their LRUs are manufactured by FTS’ parent company (FeiTian), they do not have to integrate with anyone else. Also, they don’t have to outsource their software – it is all controlled in house. By operating in this mode they do not have to rely on suppliers; however, we do note that they want to create partnerships from a marketing perspective in order to enhance ancillary revenue generation. Furthermore, products like customized games can be easily added.
In closing, we note that the parent company (FeiTian) has been around for 11 years with a backbone built on bullet trains in China. Additionally, it should be mentioned that by year’s end their will be four FTS company (aviation-focused) offices: China, Singapore, Newport Beach, and a location in Europe – so the company is very interested in aggressive expansion. In our interview they mentioned that they will have four airlines in their first full year of operation – WOW!
SITA OnAir demonstrated how the passenger experience is being transformed by their e-Aircraft concept. The e-Aircraft presents significant opportunities for airlines to streamline operations and improve efficiencies. It also presents the major challenge of what to do when confronted by terabytes of data produced during each flight. Some of it will be stored for downloading on the ground. But increasingly, the demand is for real-time interaction, for the aircraft to be connected nose-to-tail throughout the flight for both passengers and the airline. They discussed the key developments based on the advent of the global high through-put satellite link, GX Aviation from Inmarsat. In fact, they showed how the increased connectivity affected 6 key ‘audiences’ (aircraft included) for the improved data rates: 1) Passengers benefit from a richer, more interactive infotainment experience. At the Expo they launched their latest inflight portal for passengers, 2) Cabin Crew can now personalize passenger interaction with real-time information available at their fingertips. Also, they demonstrated their latest CrewTablet developments, 3) Cockpit Crew can also deliver a safer, more comfortable journey to passengers thanks to live weather updates sent directly to EFBs, 4) Flight Operations can enhance passenger safety by tracking aircraft wherever they are in the world using AIRCOM FlightTracker – and a number of airlines have already signed up, 5) Aircraft transmits maintenance requirement data, ensuring teams are waiting at the gate to keep turnaround time to a minimum, 6) And finally, Air Traffic Control enhances both safety and efficiency by streamlining communications between pilots and air traffic managers. SITA likes to call these ‘nose-to-tail’ solutions.
2016 APEX Awards:
This year’s APEX Awards were expanded from previous years. In fact, there were eight categories in the new format. Competition was particularly high especially in the areas of “Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation” and “Best Original Video” – I think many of the judges wished they could handout co-winner awards!
Award winners are as follows:
- Best Video Curation – Air Canada enRoute Programming
- Best Original Video – Etihad Airways Virtual Reality Film
- Best Original Audio – American Airlines Exclusive Content
- Best Inflight Connectivity Innovation – Finnair Nordic Sky Wi-Fi
- Best Passenger Comfort Innovation – Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class
- Best Personalization Innovation – Air New Zealand Airpoints
- Best Cabin Innovation – STG Aerospace Green Floor Path Lighting
- Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation – Air New Zealand Innovations
- Newcomer Award – SkyLights and ImmFly
- CEO Lifetime Achievement – Goh Choon Phong, Singapore
Did you get to the APEX sponsored networking event in Singapore on Wednesday evening? If not you missed a fantastic band called Full Circle that played class rock’n roll. We were so impressed we want to extend a ‘thank you’ to Ande Rowe | Manager, Meetings & Expositions for APEX who booked them. Full Circle really made the event one to remember!! Their facebook page can be found here.
Museum of Flight at Boeing Field:
I recently had a meeting at the Seattle Museum of Flight on Boeing Field. While my visit was business… I left the meeting… and lost my sense of time and history – because once you see an old aircraft that fought in a war, or provided the transportation for a historical event, or was the first of it’s kind, you just get lost… lost in time, and possibly lost in space. Interestingly, you become part of the event that the person, plane or spacecraft was famous for… or you become immersed in the art background and signage describing the history and achievement of the craft. One visitor told us that he and his kids were fascinated by the description and experiences of the museum’s individual plane tour guides, who in many cases had flown that aircraft. It is also easy to get wrapped-up in the in mood lighting surrounding the planes in the halls, especially in the periods like those in the WW1 Hall and WW2 Halls. While it has been a long time, as a child, I would have given anything to see what I saw last week at the Museum of Flight. One suggestion, however, don’t let your children say the same thing.
OK, if you want a fast tour of the Museum here it goes: Museum Galleries, Airpark, Great Gallery, Lear Gallery, Personal Courage Wing, Red Barn, & Space Gallery. That’s 7 galleries, many halls, 29 exhibits + a museum store, 140 real aircraft, 12 spacecraft, pre-1900s to 2010s types, from 73 manufacturers… and some 40 of 140 shown planes in the air and on the ground in the Great Gallery. Founded in 1965, the Museum of flight has been growing since it’s inception, but we think the real hero was T. Wilson… he made “The” museum building on Boeing Field happen.
As a bit of museum background, here is what the website says:
“Museum of Flight is devoted to the preservation and sharing of aviation and aerospace history and technology.
Founded as the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation in 1965 by a group of local Boeing engineers and aviation enthusiasts, the Museum’s collection was established out of a desire by the group to preserve artifacts and materials representing the entire evolution of flight and to prevent them from being lost, destroyed and forgotten with time. Since 1965, The Museum of Flight’s collection has come to be regarded as one of the best air and space museum collections in the world. The Museum’s collection contains over 150 aircraft, over 25,000 small objects (classified as anything smaller than an aircraft), over 90,000 books and periodicals, over 15,000 aircraft manuals and technical reports and nearly 5,000 cubic feet of archival materials including an estimated four million images. As a Smithsonian Affiliate institution and an accredited American Alliance of Museums institution, we continuously endeavor to meet their standards and best practices in all aspects of our operations, especially in regards to caring for and preserving our collection.”
The Pavilion (across the street form the main Museum building) is incredibly large and hosts an many big planes in a covered outdoor building. One writer said it is larger than two football fields! The new “hanger” effectively doubles the museum foot print, in fact it adds 3 acres of aviation history floor space! It is home for some 19 iconic planes like the world’s first Boeing 747 Jumbo, the 787 Dreamliner, the British Airways Concorde (SST – the last to fly in revenue service), B-17, B29, and B-47 bombers. The site has a convenient “air” bridge to get you there. This inclined walkway is defiantly a better way to reach the Pavilion, not to mention, listening to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” playing on the loudspeakers there topped the experience. As with all airplanes, pictures never do them justice but here are a few shots we took that should give you a better idea of the flight scene there are here.
You can fly in on your own plane or in a commercial airline to Boeing Field or Sea-Tac, and if you have a child that likes aviation, you MUST take her or him to see the real planes. You might ask why is this trip worth the effort? The answer is simple: because they can climb in and touch and feel what aviation is all about… and it is about more than planes. It is about flying, it’s about education, and it’s about history… but it is also about fun!
OmniAccess, a leading supplier of integrated communications solutions to super yachts and cruise-ships, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), today unveiled a tailored XTS “extremely high throughput” satellite network for multiple mobility markets. Details on this new communications service are available to key customers that visit the OmniAccess booth at the Monaco Yacht Show. OmniAccess and Panasonic began collaborating on XTS high-throughput satellite designs in September 2015 in order to bring unprecedented levels of capacity and performance to OmniAcess’ existing Super yacht and cruise customers. Through this agreement OmniAccess has secured access to Panasonic’s existing HTS capacity, currently contracted capacity and the future XTS satellite network, bringing industry-leading capacity and performance to its yachting and cruise ship markets. Leveraging Panasonic’s existing global high-speed satellite network, OmniAccess is already providing industry-leading connection speeds of over 200 Mbps to select individual customers.
Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said: “We announced our partnership with OmniAccess at the Monaco Yacht Show last year, and since then, we’ve been able to develop solutions that have improved our operational efficiencies and also delivered higher performance and better service to OmniAccess’ super yacht customers. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with OmniAccess to establish a new standard in high-bandwidth services for the mobility market.”
(Editor’s Note: Normally we wouldn’t place a news release that predominately refers to maritime in our publication. However, in this instance we believe it to have relevance as the relationship between Panasonic Avionics and OmniAccess refers to “multiple mobility markets”, “XTS high-throughput satellite” and “Leveraging Panasonic’s existing global high-speed satellite network”. After all, a revenue stream is a revenue stream whether it is initiated from an ocean or the air! And we wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these relationships in our industry.)
APEX 2016 will see the very latest in connectivity, payment and power solutions from IFEC specialists IFPL, on Booth 1745 at the Singapore based show.
IFPL leads the way when it comes to deploying contactless payment systems NFC (Near Field Communication) on-board aircraft, with global OEM’s and airlines using this technology for seat back in-flight retail and customer personalization. APEX 2016 will see IFPL demonstrate its new NFC ‘Pin-On-Screen’ solution that enables high value off line transactions by removing the current low value payment barrier. This step change will allow airlines to expand and sell high value items thus increasing ancillary revenues.
With portable and wearable tech now widespread, visitors to APEX can also see IFPL’s USB- C and USB-A units, both providing hi-speed data and power.
As always, innovation from IFPL will be on display with the company demonstrating its new integrated seat arm concept. This will reflect its ability to customize peripherals to support the design language, aesthetics and ergonomics required for true IFE and seat integration.
IFPL will be demonstrating their ‘Charge-2-Charge’ solution for both inductive and USB charging – this will enable airlines to generate additional revenue from passengers wishing to charge their portable devices during flights. Demonstrations will also be available for their popular 110V A/C power outlet and its combination 110V and USB-A & C.
Solving the problem of broken headphone sockets are IFPL’s MagSignal Audio units. Cost neutral when compared with traditional sockets, MagSignal Technology allows the headset cable to be pulled and detached from any angle without detriment; reducing customer induced damage (CID) and maintenance disruption to aircraft.
As always IFPL’s established range of IFEC products and solutions will be on display and the team from IFPL will be on hand to discuss any requirement that visitors to APEX 2016 in Singapore may have.
Gogo recently announced that it will partner with Air France-KLM to connect its existing long-haul fleet representing 124 aircraft, with an airline option to install the technology on additional aircraft in the future. The fleet of aircraft receiving Gogo’s 2Ku technology will include numerous aircraft types, including the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330s. “We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology to one of the largest airlines in the world and two of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “2Ku delivers a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today, including the ability to stream video. One of the many benefits of 2Ku is that it’s built on an open architecture and can leverage new technology advancements in the future, which means the technology will get even better over time and will provide passengers with a superior connectivity experience now and in the future.” The first aircraft is expected to be in service end of next year, with the bulk of the installations taking place during 2018-2019.
The company also announced that it is developing its next generation ground-based technology to better serve the connectivity needs of business and commercial aviation in North America. This technology will offer a ground-like performance, including the ability to stream videos, for business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and select narrow-body aircraft operating within the United States and Canada. The new network will use unlicensed spectrum, a proprietary modem and a new beam-forming antenna to produce peak network speeds of more than 100 Mbps. This next generation ground-based network for the aero market will utilize LTE technology and leverage Gogo’s existing first generation North American network and infrastructure of more than 250 towers.
“Leveraging our first generation network is key to making this next generation network highly reliable and economical to deploy,” said Anand Chari, Gogo’s CTO. “Gogo’s next generation network will also be backward-compatible with Gogo’s first generation network, which means an aircraft will be able to seamlessly switch between Gogo’s fthe two networks networks similar to how a cell phone on the ground connects to the fastest available network.”
The benefits of this new network for commercial aircraft operating within the United States and Canada include: low equipment cost and weight, overnight installation, and low drag on the aircraft due to the small size of the antennas. It also has big advantages in terms of latency compared to satellite solutions.
Aircraft outfitted with one of Gogo’s earlier generation air-to-ground technologies will simply need to be outfitted with a new modem and blade antenna to take advantage of the new service.
The service is expected to be available in 2018. Great article this morning. Separately, we have got big news this morning from Gogo as we announce our next generation ground network to support IFC in North America. We now have upgrade paths to more than 100 Mbps for both our North American ground-based and our global satellite networks. This will enable passengers to do everything they can do on the ground, in-flight. The network will use unlicensed spectrum and will require minimal updates for an aircraft.
(Editor’s Note: You should probably read this as well.)
SmartSky Networks’ patented SmartSky 4G radio system completed the major milestone of receiving FCC certification, clearing the way for deployment of the ultra-fast SmartSky 4G air-to-ground network later this year, with nationwide service launching in mid-2017. Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO, stated, “After investing tens of millions of dollars and over five years of research and development effort, SmartSky’s now certified technology has unlocked enough spectrum to be able to offer, for the first time, the reliable use of a sophisticated, custom-designed 4G system that can deliver an office-like internet experience in the air for both business aviation and commercial aviation customers.”FCC certification is the culmination of work to develop and patent protect the multiple bodies of technology that uniquely enable SmartSky to make use of the unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum band, all without causing harmful interference to or receiving interference from the operation of the same band on the ground. Despite the widespread assertion that aviation-related spectrum reuse in the unlicensed band would not be feasible, SmartSky has successfully solved the challenge by implementing new technical methods that are broadly covered by its robust and growing portfolio of 20 granted patents. Additional patents are pending.
Reed Hundt, SmartSky’s Vice Chairman of the Board and former Chairman of the FCC, remarked, “Long ago, the FCC authorized the allocation of large blocks of unlicensed spectrum to foster innovation and encourage competition. Today, we see the amazing results of that prescient regulation, which has resulted in ubiquitous Wi-Fi on the ground. By application of novel technologies using 2.4 GHz unlicensed spectrum, SmartSky’s breakthrough will finally give the aviation industry the superior connectivity now taken for granted terrestrially.”
Roberson and Associates, a highly regarded independent wireless industry consulting firm, investigated the ability of SmartSky’s radio technology to seamlessly coexist with terrestrial Wi-Fi. CEO Dennis Roberson, who is also Chairman of the FCC’s Technical Advisory Council, commented, “SmartSky’s technology solution is transparent to Wi-Fi users on the ground, enabling the air-to-ground sharing of the 2.4 GHz unlicensed band.”
SmartSky’s technology and patent portfolio is not limited to the unlicensed band. Most of the patents apply to any frequency and any waveform in any high speed air-to-ground network. Because these are broad patents, SmartSky enables underlying technical advances to be incorporated into its conceptual solution. “Over time, this will allow SmartSky to keep pace with the latest advances in computing, antennas, radios and networking while still being protected by our foundational patents,” said Griffin.
Continuing a relationship that has lasted over 70 years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has renewed its Aeronautical Mobile Communications Service (AMCS) agreement with Rockwell Collins. Under the agreement, the company will continue to provide Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications, including position reports, aircraft requests and ATC clearances, between the FAA and aircraft flying in U.S. oceanic airspace.
Uber Transportation in Singapore!
Lastly, here is a Singapore treat from the nice folks at Uber, the transportation app company. It’s easy to use: In the app, choose your ride and set your location. Once you get matched, you’ll see your driver’s picture and vehicle details, at the same time, you can easily track their estimated time of arrival on the map. No phone calls to make, no pick-ups to schedule. With 24/7 availability, request a ride any time of day. Here is how you can get started: Download the Uber app and register for an account. You’ll have the option to input your credit card or opt for cash payment. To enjoy a $15 FREE ride, simply enter the code IFEXPRESS into the Promotions tab! Hurry – the code is valid until 31 October 2016.
One interesting thing about an increase in connectivity, there is a plethora of uses for it that weren’t always in the planning stage! Our lead story this week is based on a use for connectivity that made the possibility of turbulent weather reporting a reality via the use of a flight crew tablet, a Flight Weather Viewer app, and of course Gogo connectivity. The following is just one usage for increased connectivity on planes. Our image this week is one from the Gogo website and we thought you might find it an interesting addition to the weather story.
While today’s feature is a far cry from IFE, it is one of improved flight experience via connectivity. IFExpress was not surprised when we found out that the folks at Delta were involved in reducing the impact of inflight turbulence and so we did a bit of research. We asked Gogo what the story was and we were directed to Delta talks turbulence for a bit of background. Delta airlines has had their eyes on reducing turbulence impact for some time and to give you an idea of the magnitude of the turbulence solution, here is one sentence from the article that sums up the value of ‘working the problem’: “According to NASA’s Weather Accident Prevention Project, turbulence costs airlines approximately $100 million every year. It also makes customers and crews uncomfortable, and in rare cases, can even cause a few bumps and bruises on board.”
Obviously, the issue for Delta is turbulence, but the issue here for Gogo is connectivity, and when we contacted their communication source, Morgan Painter, she noted: “…we are really excited about this partnership and have heard great feedback from DL’s pilots around improved flight safety and efficiency – as the article mentions, some even have been calling it “an industry game changer”. This is just another partnership that gets us one step closer to the reality of a connected aircraft.” Aha, the magic words you will hear more and more about in the future… and the reason we found this turbulence solution intriguing relies on The Connected Aircraft. Gogo noted: “Check out this link, it includes information about our technologies, airline partners and vision for the connected aircraft.”
As we mentioned earlier, our rectangle is a picture of the aircraft hardware involved in the Delta solution which also employs a Delta Flight Weather Viewer App on the crew devices, all working through Gogo connectivity. Together the system and the crew get the information they need to make the right flight decisions to handle turbulence: climb, descend, slow down, or change route. “Predicting the where, when and intensity of turbulence is notoriously difficult to do. But Delta has developed a new, industry-leading app that’s helping pilots better spot and avoid it.”
“For Gogo, we are providing the broadband connection between the Delta tablet EFB (Microsoft Surface) and associated app and ground servers,” the company notes. Here’s what Delta says: “Setting Delta’s app apart from similar technology, the data is customized by aircraft type, since turbulence affects a 737 narrowbody differently than a much larger A330. It is also available in real time, thanks to fast and secure connectivity via Gogo’s in-flight Wi-Fi network, instead of through the traditional ACARS digital datalink system that’s been in place since the late 1970s. Bandwidth and network speeds offered by Gogo vs. legacy datalinks is a key difference inherent with our technology where latency is measured in milliseconds for supporting successful TCP/IP communications.”
With more than 16 commercial airlines, 2,800 connected aircraft (and some 7,000 business jets), Gogo is in a good place to help a lot of fliers. Network speed and data connectivity will certainly change the world of commercial flying… and besides it’s hard to enjoy inflight entertainment when the plane is bouncing all over the sky.
(Editor’s Note: We wanted to give our readers a view of what hardware is involved in the connectivity solution and that is why we chose the airplane graphic. You will probably understand the Ku antenna, onboard server, and internal cabin pax Wi-Fi antennas. However, there are two boxes that we had to get a bit more data on: KANDU and MODMAN. For you tekkies: “The MODMAN (Modem and Manager) is the interface between the antenna and our equipment, and is responsible for converting the satellite data stream. This in turn feeds into the onboard Gogo server and on to the cabin wireless access points, allowing your devices to connect over Wi-Fi. The KANDU (Ku/Ka Aircraft Networking Data Unit) is what physically controls the antenna. It interfaces with the aircraft navigational systems to control the movement of the antenna. The KANDU is also responsible for making sure the system reconnects to the right satellite as a single satellite can only cover a certain area, which means longer flights may switch between 2 or even 3 different satellites.” There, now you know… )
Panasonic today announced that its weather division, Panasonic Weather Solutions, is providing ground operations weather forecasting to Denver International Airport. The company’s Forecasting Center of Excellence (FCoE) provides detailed station-based weather forecasting, as well as enhanced weather forecasting for significant convective and winter weather events.
Panasonic’s FCoE delivers unparalleled weather forecasting information, with days-out accuracy, via customized products that offer at-a-glance ease of use, while their meteorologists utilize highly-accurate and unique atmospheric datasets, as well as sophisticated 4D quality control and proprietary forecasting models, to provide Denver International Airport ground operations with state-of-the-art and unmatched forecasting for informed decision making.
CEO, Paul Margis, said: “Our Weather Solutions division sets the standard for world-class weather forecasting. We are proud to partner with Denver International Airport Ground Operations to deliver the most accurate weather information available for operational safety and efficiency.” He also noted: “Denver International Airport can be confident that the weather forecasting they receive from Panasonic will provide them with an operational advantage, from proper staffing levels to staging the right equipment and materials appropriate to the weather circumstance.”
A career in the rapidly expanding space industry is not just about launching and flying spacecraft according to Inmarsat, a world leader in mobile satellite communications. Announcing the company’s search for its next generation of ‘space pioneers’, the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Michele Franci, emphasised that to remain a global leader, Inmarsat is focused on attracting world-class engineering talent.Inmarsat’s third ‘Technology Development Programme’ (TDP), which was launched today at New Scientist Live in London with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake and graduates from Inmarsat’s second TDP programme, is designed to start the space engineering careers of five STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) graduates. The winning candidates, selected from UK and European universities, will have the opportunity to undertake a two-year placement with Inmarsat and the offer of a permanent position on the successful completion of the program.
The Greater Orlando Aviation Administration (GOAA) today unveiled a new standard in airport displays that will span the length of five football fields to create a fun and interactive check-in experience for the 42 million passengers who travel to and from Orlando International Airport every year. SITA, the air transport technology provider, has partnered with Synect to design and install the ultra-high definition video wall, which fully integrates with the airport operational systems to deliver dynamic way-finding along with flight information, destination time and weather, security and gate information. In addition, the family-friendly airport can now display engaging games to entertain its young travelers and decrease perceived wait times.
The digital canvas, which will span 1,560 feet (475 metres), comprises more than 700 55” LG LCD screens to create a vast and continuous video wall, essentially creating digital wallpaper. The new digital experience at Orlando also includes installations from the curb side to the terminals, including outdoor digital displays, self-check-in and way-finding video walls.
IFExpress: John, we assume you will be moving to the Chicago area… any expectations? Any trepidations?
J.W.: “Yes, I have relocated to the Chicago area and am thrilled to be joining my colleagues here to start launching the 2Ku era. As for trepidations, having spent the last eight winters in Colorado, I’m not quite sure what Chicago winters will bring, less skiing I’m sure.”
IFExpress: Regarding your new areas of responsibility (operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales) which do you think will give you the most challenges and which the most enjoyment?
J.W.: “The role in itself will present many challenges as well as enjoyment across all departments as we begin the journey of rolling out 2Ku to our airline partners. Making sure that deployment goes as smoothly as possible is a large part of my new role as COO.
Over the years, I have discovered I have a natural love for optimizing operations within organizations and am really looking forward to leading those functions within Gogo’s commercial aviation business.
For one of my challenges, I’d say learning to manage the folks in sales, as I used to be one myself.
Putting in place the foundation of 2Ku for our airline partners that have clearly recognized 2Ku’s operational excellence is certainly the most exciting challenge. More than 1,200 aircraft across 12 airlines have made commitments to this technology that will change the face of air travel on a global scale. To be leading that innovation is not only a huge milestone at Gogo, but in aviation as well.”
IFEXpress: From a bigger perspective, can you: A. give our readers the today view of Gogo, B. tomorrow’s view under your new leadership, and C. the product view of the next 5 years at Gogo.
J.W.: “Right now is really a very exciting time for Gogo. As the summer travel season comes to an end for the airlines, we are truly stepping into full 2Ku production mode. By the end of the year, we have committed to having 75+ 2Ku aircraft installed and into 2017 and 2018, we’ll be ramping up production quite a bit to get through our backlog of 1,200 aircraft. Given how quickly the airline industry has taken to 2Ku and recognized its technological advantages, I expect in the next five years that we will announce many global partnerships for 2Ku. Additionally, we will continue to expand our product offerings, focus on bringing the connected aircraft to life and develop our next generation regional ATG network that will be a big benefit to both CA (commercial aviation) and BA (business aviation).”
IFExpress: We understand that is some markets (biz jet?), Gogo offers a text/data service (low speed), why is that not offered for a low cost solution for the many users who want minimum service on a commercial service airplane?
J.W.: “We actually do have a messaging pass for commercial aviation (CA) passengers. For CA, this messaging application enables passengers to stay in touch with the ground with popular messaging applications including iMessage, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. If passengers are T-Mobile customers, they can also take advantage of free in-flight texting on all Gogo equipped flights.
For BA and CA both, the service actually works on high speed networks. In general, we think that low speed networks will become increasingly more focused on the cockpit v. passenger services.”
IFExpress: Can you tell our readers a little about how the business aviation market differs from the commercial airline market and do you envision entering other markets like military, etc.?
J. W.: “If there is one major differentiator between BA and CA it’s in the size of the fuselage hence the antenna technologies which are applicable. With Gogo’s range of products for both BA and CA, Gogo is extremely well positioned to service both markets.
In terms of BA vs CA, from an operations perspective, there are striking similarities with the big difference being access to aircraft. Commercial airlines are not keen on taking planes down to change technologies, which creates challenges when you are delivering new technologies. But there are definitely more similarities than differences.”
In closing, John told IFExpress; “While I’ve had a lot of fun over the last eight years managing the BA group, I’m realizing my real passion is in the big airplane world. It’s truly great to be back in the airline world once again and I’m looking forward to seeing all my old friends in Singapore.”
With over 30 years in the aviation industry, Jorge Mompo has joined the digEcor team as the new Director North, Latin America and Caribbean Sales. Mompo will be based in the America’s office in Springville, Utah and will be handling all Sales and Marketing activities in the Americas’ region. Jorge began his aviation career in the areas of Business Aviation Technical and Support, subsequently moving into IFE where he held diverse Engineering and Sales & Marketing positions in companies including Sony Trans Com, Panasonic and Lumexis, serving mainly the Americas. Mompo commented, “There are numerous growth opportunities in the Region where digEcor’s comprehensive integrated flight experience suite of products for IFE and cabin will be a perfect fit for current and future needs. I’m looking forward to continuing my close working relationships with all the customers in the Americas Region encompassing Airlines, OEMs and MROs.” Jorge will be at Singapore at the digEcor booth and you can contact him here: +1 (305) 781-9798 Mobile – +1 (801) 691-7257 Office
Thales, a global leader in space, avionics, and connected inflight entertainment, announces two milestone agreements with SES, the world’s leading satellite operator. With these agreements, Thales will offer airlines and their passengers FlytLIVE, the most efficient inflight connectivity experience over the Americas. FlytLIVE by Thales will start operating mid 2017 using in-orbit satellites. Thales signed an agreement with SES for tailor made connectivity services over the Americas optimized for commercial aviation.
With FlytLIVE, inflight connectivity solution, airlines will receive the best connection speeds for passengers and passenger entertainment using Ka-band HTS, they claim.
Two currently in-orbit satellites comprise the initial network for the Americas; a third satellite provided by Thales Alenia Space – will be launched in 2020 to meet anticipated market growth over the Americas.
(Editor’s Note: IFExpress will have more on this deal soon.)
- ARINC, AEEC, Rockwell Collins are putting on their big show in Toulouse France this year (Oct. 13 – 14) and a couple meetings caught our eye – specifically 7E Next Generation Cabin Data Bus and New ARINC Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System. Here is more info – ARINC Industry Activities | AEEC | Upcoming Mid-Term | Meeting Material | Drafts for Adoption Consideration
- The FAA says don’t turn on or charge your Samsung’s new Note 7 on an airplane! FAA Warns Airline Passengers Not To Use Samsung Smartphone The Wireless Week reported: “There have been dozens of aircraft fires caused by lithium batteries, so many that the batteries are no longer welcome as cargo on passenger flights. In one of the most recent incidents, a Fiji Airways Boeing 737 was preparing for takeoff from Melbourne, Australia, when smoke was discovered coming from the cargo bay. The plane was evacuated and the cargo unloaded. The source of the fire turned out to be lithium-ion batteries in a passenger’s checked bags. Hoverboards and e-cigarettes are banned from flights for the same reason.” Here is another article on the subject.
- If you get a new iPhone (7) but you have earphones with a jack… no worries on board. Just get a Lightening Dock… or, here are four other solutions 5 Ways To Use Headphones With iPhone 7 And iPhone 7 Plus | Redmond Pie and use those jacked earphones!
KID-Systeme’s SKYfi Club – a wireless streaming onboard platform for passenger and corporate aircraft – has been selected by Saudia as linefit on it’s fleet of 20 A330 and 30 A320. Saudia will present this premium content streaming service as unique passenger experience under their brand SAUDIA SKYfi . SKYfi Club streams content to passengers’ personal electronic devices, allowing them to access the available entertainment options, such as movies, e-books and magazines. The technology is based on the trusted ALNA (Airline Network Architecture) connectivity platform, which flies on over 650 aircraft already. Note: We had a few questions about the system and asked Product Manager Johannes Ferstl and Peter SchetschineKID-Systeme General Manager, but more on that in a minute.
The mature system provides a scalable and modular architecture adaptable to customer needs. It enables a wide range of additional services such as GSM telephony, internet access and data services. Further, SKYfi can be complemented by SKYpower, KID-Systeme’s in-seat power and cabin power management system. Of course, IFExpress got curious and asked the following:
1. Can you tell our readers a bit more about your featured ALNA (airline network architecture).
ANSWER: The ALNA system is able to provide GSM/GPRS and WLAN (IEEE 802.11) connectivity services within the aircraft cabin during cruise flight phase. The onboard telephony and WLAN services are enabled above an altitude of 3000m (10.000ft.) and disabled below an altitude of 3000m. During taxi, take-off and landing and below 3000m altitude all radio transmissions are switched off. During cruise flight the service can be de-activated manually at any time. Service activation and de-activation is indicated by a chime, the PAX signs (No-Mobile-Signs) and by the cabin crew (via passenger announcement). The ALNA system consists of several hardware devices e.g. the Head End Server Unit (HESU) and software applications e.g. the system monitoring software.
2. Can you tell us which airlines fly the SKYfi Club today?
ANSWER: As of today one airline flies SKYfi Club: Saudi Arabian Airlines. More than six hundred shipsets of SKYfi phone and web were deployed previously.
3. Your view, we assume, is that connectivity and flying are very important?
ANSWER: “Connectivity is more than staying in contact. It’s part of our lifestyle. SKYfi Club extends this lifestyle by being entertained.” Noted Johannes Ferstl, Product Manager Connectivity. Peter Schetschine, General Manager KID-System also said: “The industry demands more and more for flexibility and adaptable technical solutions. Based on a scalable and modular architecture SKYfi paves this way into a well entertained and connected world on board. Furthermore our streaming solution supports the BYOD trend which will continue to be strong and present in future.”
4. We assume the line-fit is in progress?
ANSWER: The first Saudia A330 Regional was our first line-fit installation. Further line-fit installations are in progress and deliveries will happen soon.
5. Lastly, could you provide a block diagram of the hardware?
ANSWER: See above.
Saudi noted: “We are very happy to continue working with KID-Systeme who has always been a reliable partner and supplier for our integrated cabin power systems, says Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser, Director General of Saudia. “Offering wireless content streaming is the next step paving the way to an improved inflight experience and satisfy passenger’s needs. Therefore we are very excited to cooperate with KID-Systeme to enlarge our inflight entertainment selection. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the connected passenger on board.”
Actually, the first aircraft delivery to Saudi Arabian Airlines was in mid-August 2016. All aircraft will be line-fit equipped with SKYfi lounge solution, starting with the aircraft type A330.
As you might know, Lufthansa Systems equipped nearly the whole Eurowings A 320 fleet with BoardConnect Portable at the beginning of August and their Corporate Communications Manager told IFExpress: “This award winning IFE solution really makes a difference, since the implementation on more than 70 aircraft only took one weekend and was a huge success. Since then Eurowings passengers can enjoy Entertainment with music and movies on short- and medium haul flights. At our booth at the Aviation Festival in London (8 – 9 September, New routes, new revenues, new business models | Aviation Festival 2016) we will show how BoardConnect Portable and our other BoardConnect products work. And we are happy to answer your questions regarding new IFE trends and the upcoming connectivity launches within and outside the Lufthansa Group. Our experts will be at the Aviation Festival both days and you can find us at booth #38.”
Gogo announced that it has promoted John Wade to the role of executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer of Gogo. Wade has more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry including numerous leadership positions in the avionics and in-flight communications industry. For the past eight years, he has served as the general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division where he built the division into a market leader. Before joining Gogo, John served as the CTO at OnAir and also worked at Tenzing and GEC Marconi on their IFE and IFC products. Wade will now be responsible for Gogo’s operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales. He will still maintain oversight over Gogo’s business aviation division, but Gogo veteran Sergio Aguirre is being promoted to serve as senior vice president and general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division. (Editor’s Note: IFExpress cannot go on without noting that John Wade is one of the ‘Best In IFE’, as we feel he is both a knowledgeable and gracious executive in his dealings with members of the press. John always takes the time to address our questions, no matter how technical or topical they may be. All the while presenting an air of ‘Nothing is impossible.’)
In a move that will provide Rockwell Collins’ customers and prospects with more aviation connectivity options, the company announced that it has been licensed to sell satellite services in Brazil. The global license, authorized by Anatel, gives Rockwell Collins the ability to sign distribution and service agreements with any satellite entities and customers operating in Brazil.
If your thing is next generation Avionics, you might want to visit AVIONICS for NextGen – 2016, in Washington DC, Sept 28 – 29, 2016: Check out the agenda.
- From the Color Correction Department comes a story that is probably better called Color Confusion. The issue here is cabin lighting and reading on LED devices. We stumbled on it after we read this online story; “Airlines Add Mood Lighting to Chill Out Passengers”. First you need to read this article on the color used in an a cabin lighting schemes designed to provide a restful inflight experience… possibly even sleep. Here is what stood out to us in the piece: “Like Virgin Atlantic, American uses amber during the dinner service, “sort of like candlelight in a restaurant,” said the managing director of onboard products. For sleep periods, it uses a deep blue, which designers chose after considering — and rejecting — a reddish glow. “Red is sometimes associated with fire,” continued the director of onboard products — “never a good thing on an airplane.” It makes sense, but we wondered if the nature of blue light effects might be more science based, because we had done a cabin lighting study a few years back and we remembered blue light differently? Next we did a bit of research and found an interesting light color/sleep study in of all places, Instructables. You can read it here. It’s a very analytical color-based evaluation made by an individual, all based on the test data he ran over one year. The conclusion? The color blue is the wrong color if you want to allow the generation of natural melatonin to help sleep come on. Further, Apple product makers and Android device products offer an app that limits the blue light. In devices like iPhones and iPads with iOS 9.3 (and on) offer a feature called “Night Shift” which is built in to the operating system. Just go to Settings>Display & Brightness> and turn on Night Shift. Perhaps, more study is needed to match passengers, rest, and time of day but we will be using it on our devices. You can read more about the issue here too – Amazon rolls out ‘blue shade’ tool for Fire tablets to allow people to read at night | Daily Mail Online
- Not long ago we reported that Singapore had not reported any Zika virus but we discovered we were a couple weeks behind the actual data, as it has now been discovered there. Take precautions – Zika virus: Singapore confirms 41 locally transmitted cases – BBC News
- And speaking of Singapore: Going to Singapore and have T-Mobile? You might find this interesting: “Visitors simply need to download a configuration file and perform a one-time setup for auto-connection to the participating cities’ hotspots,” IDA said in a release of the WBA’s City Wi-Fi Roaming Project. IFExpress will have more on Singapore later.
- Traveling to the US? You might have to cough up your online presence! – Traveling to US? Agencies want to Spy on your Social Media activities right from Airport
- And finally, Flyers Rights (NonProfit Airline Consumer Org.) has an interesting Report Card for US Congress and it’s not good!
- Thirty Old Aviation Sheet Music Covers:
30 Hundred-Year-Old Sheet Music Covers Celebrating the Joy and Thrill of Flight
- Amazon Video now lets you download video’s and TV directly to Android SD cards – for your next flight, of course! Amazon Video now lets you download movies and TV straight to Android SD cards | The Verge
Chicago, IL | August 30, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has promoted John Wade to the role of executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer of Gogo.
Wade has more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry including numerous leadership positions in the avionics and in-flight communications industry. For the past eight years, he has served as the general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division where he built the division into a market leader. Before joining Gogo, John served as the CTO at OnAir and also worked at Tenzing and GEC Marconi on their IFE and IFC products.
“Gogo has built its industry leadership on technology development and innovation, as we now work to deploy our new 2Ku technology on more than 1,200 aircraft over the next two years, it’s going to be incredibly important for us to build a truly world-class global operation to match our technological leadership,” said Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO. “I believe John is the right person to lead these efforts.”
Wade will now be responsible for Gogo’s operations, quality control, commercial airline account management and commercial sales. He will still maintain oversight over Gogo’s business aviation division, but Gogo veteran Sergio Aguirre is being promoted to serve as senior vice president and general manager of Gogo’s business aviation division.
This week we have a lot of stories that will interest you and we thought we would start our offering with a light interview we recently had with a really nice guy, Cyril Jean of PXCom, located in France. Some three years ago, we met Cyril at an APEX luncheon where he joined our table with an introduction, a business card, and a conversation loaded both with future hope and enthusiasm. Whats not to like? So, after the few years of starting an inflight entertainment company we asked via email how it was going and he wrote the following answers. We thought you, our readers, might find them interesting:
1. Cyril, how many airplanes do you have service on today?
Answer: “We have 71 for Eurowings and 20 for Iberia Express.”
2. OK, what airlines can you mention that you are providing service to?
Answer: “For the moment Eurowings & Iberia. I think that within one month we will be able to operate on 3 new airlines.”
3. Please tell our readers how long have you been in the IFE business?
Answer: “PXCom was created 3 years ago, and yet we have been working in the IFE business for 10+ years.”
4. Cyril, could you please name you products/services for our readers.
Answer: “Our destination guides (see the image above) do not have a specific name. Also, the advertisers pay for a PXPage (interactive page integrated directly in the guide) or for a PXApp (microsite that can be accessed directly from the guide).”
5. Perhaps you could tell our readers where are you located and if this affects whom you service?
Answer: “We are located in Bordeaux (FRANCE), but our first customers (advertisers) are within Europe. With the upcoming additional airlines we intend to develop in Asia, Middle East and Americas.”
6. Please more completely identify your “products” or services for our readers as we know you are developing some interesting IFE solutions?
Answer: “We supply destination related services: from informative content (destination guides) to destination services (taxi booking, hotel pre-checking) – when we have the opportunity to supply onboard aircraft equipped with connectivity. We have also a second activity, soon live on the first airlines, which is Digital Inflight Advertising. Please note that this latter mentioned product will be subject to a specific PR release when it becomes live.”
7. Can you now give our readers an updated airline/product picture?
Answer: “For the moment it’s Eurowings our launch airline for the interactive guides, and we also provide Iberia Express with destination related advertising offerings. We have currently 7 other airlines in process for product integration, among which, 3 of them will be unveiled before end of September.”
IFPL celebrated a major milestone this year supplying their two-millionth industry part to a key Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Now in their 20th year of trading, IFPL reached their two-millionth unit, just four years after the first million, demonstrating their continued sustainable growth in leading the way in IFEC peripherals. Chief Operating Officer, Tim Young, proudly accepted the two-millionth unit from the company’s Head of Production, Marcus Baker. Tim says, “It is a testament to the whole IFPL team, that the two-millionth part followed so soon after reaching our first million. IFPL investments in quality systems, manufacturing and product development capability combined with the development and introduction of new NFC, USB, audio jacks and passenger control units, means that we aim to reach our three-millionth unit even sooner.” The innovative IFPL two-millionth unit is IFPL’s Noise Cancelling Audio Jack (p/n 1155). IFPL’s Integrated Noise Cancelling Audio Module (INCAM) technology is designed to minimize cabin background noise – ensuring that aircraft passengers enjoy a more relaxed and restful journey, while also benefiting from clarity of sound via the passenger Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system. Passengers may still use their own noise-cancelling headphones, however IFPL’s INCAM enables the airline to provide noise cancelling to all its passengers by simply relocating the costly and complex headset electronics into the jack module. Therefore noise-cancelling headsets are not required, only the addition of inexpensive microphones in the ear cups that are used to pick up the ambient noise. This improved technology enables all aircraft passengers to benefit from a more enjoyable and enhanced in-flight experience. The 1155 Noise Cancelling Audio Jack is part of an extensive range of IFPL products and IFEC solutions, which includes the new reversible USB power and data module, Dual-pin MagSignal audio and the latest in NFC contactless payment technology.
Honeywell has achieved final certification from Inmarsat for JetWave, the company’s package of exclusive hardware that will allow pilots, passengers, operators and maintenance personnel to connect to GX Aviation, the revolutionary new in-flight broadband service from Inmarsat. Users can consistently and more quickly surf the internet, check emails, stream music and videos, and shop online without drop-off throughout their flight, even when flying over oceans. The final type approval certificate confirms that the system functions as designed and completes the process to bring GX Aviation to the aerospace market. The certification centers on operation in all environmental conditions with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which comprises three satellites already launched and functioning. This ensures that passengers, pilots and other airline personnel have access to high-speed, consistent and reliable broadband service by GX Aviation on flights worldwide, with speeds similar to those experienced at home or in the office.
The Future Travel Experience Global show is “Vegas” on Sept 7 – 9 and you can get all the info here. Noted Daniel Coleman: “It has taken a lot of work, but I am very proud and excited by the plans for FTE Global 2016, with our valued event partners making great contributions to bringing the event to life: McCarran International Airport, APEX, ACC, AAAE and Airport Terminal of the Future.”
AeroMod International and SITAONAIR today jointly announce a partnership to install SITAONAIR wireless inflight entertainment (IFE) services on Philippine Airlines. The rapid installation program will see AeroMod International deploy a consistent cabin experience across Philippine Airlines fleet and implement the systems in record time. This industry leader in avionics and airplane structural modification and repair services commenced installation of the SITAONAIR wireless IFE system on Philippine Airlines’ Airbus A321 fleet in July. Under the program, Philippine Airlines will have one wireless IFE-installed aircraft returned to service every day. Market analysis by AeroMod reveals that only 13 percent of non-U.S. airlines have wireless IFE fully deployed. Despite this, a recent SITA survey of passengers worldwide showed IFE is now more commonly consumed via Wi-Fi on a personal device, rather than on the aircraft’s seat-back screen (46% vs 44%, with 10% using both). Additionally, two thirds (65%) of passengers would choose to access it via their own devices if wireless IFE was available. “86 percent of passengers take a smartphone onto a plane and they would prefer to also use them to access IFE. These networks therefore need to be highly robust in order to deliver HD quality video to all passengers,” said David Lavorel, CEO of SITAONAIR. “AeroMod has an enviable track record for installations that are both of exceptional quality and are turned around quickly, getting the planes back in the air as soon as possible.”
We wanted to point out one writer who weekly features the present and future of satcom usage and his name is Tim Farrar… a writer, speaker, and aficionado of that venue of connectivity. We thought you might find one chart that he has posted and since it talks about “who has what” in the satcom universe, you might find it interesting… a little bit of research on his site might also be useful… especially the SES chart he has included on the above mentioned link. But, there is a lot more there.
Global Eagle Entertainment has entered into a global distribution agreement between GEE’s Entertainment in Motion and The QYOU, a leading provider of curated and hosted online short-form content for the Video Everywhere age. The broad-based deal gives GEE and its affiliated companies access to The QYOU catalog and new production targeting distinct passengers with peppy morning, family afternoon and late-night styled content. The video segments will cover various categories including extreme sports, artist spotlights, dance, beauty, and comedy. Content will be accessible on airline seatback portals and personal entertainment devices enabled by airlines and cruise liners. The agreement grants exclusive and worldwide airline and maritime distribution rights, and non-exclusive distributions rights in other U.S. and Canada non-theatrical markets.
On another GEE front, Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today launched a new interactive data dashboard designed to provide the traveling public with access to aggregated flight operations information for U.S. airlines and airports across the country. The dashboard, displayed at airlines.org, was produced in partnership with Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (GEE) and will provide the current operation status for the top 30 U.S. airports by passenger volume.
A4A partnered with GEE to develop this dashboard as a resource for industry partners and others who have a need for aggregated on-time performance data at the airport level or based on current weather patterns. The dashboard, tapping into GEE’s unsurpassed aviation data analytics capabilities, is complete with scroll-over maps, real-time flight departures, completions, cancellations, on-time performance and weather conditions at the national and local airport level. This new resource also provides a detailed, rolling 30-day analysis of completed and canceled flights. GEE’s solution will enhance this offering by adding current analysis tools of all U.S. flight operations.
Perhaps the on big news release today was found on Digital Music News. They note that after a couple years of litigation, UMG settled for a $15 million dollar payment with an additional 1,360,544 shares of GEE stock. Some 4,500 songs were allegedly infringed as well as videos. Earlier, we estimated that worst case, the deal could hit GEE with a deal worth hundreds of millions, however, we now have a settlement with the lawsuit dismissal and no admission of guilt or liability. Actually, GEE will survive this story and we think they will continue to do well. We also note that GEE’s PR folks did not respond to our request for information (no surprise). Here is the whole story. And here is another link with a different spin.
Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) and Yahsat today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore new ways to offer a broadband connectivity solution serving several mobility markets in the Middle East within the next three to five years. In addition, while final terms are still being negotiated, the MOU allows both parties to further investigate the launch of a Yahsat satellite constellation that would serve Panasonic’s general mobility needs in aviation, maritime and terrestrial transportation, and also give Yahsat the ability to use Panasonic communication related technologies and services where practical. Moving forward, Yahsat and Panasonic will assess the various technical requirements for such an offering. The companies will explore a wide range of factors including the type of frequency to be used, the coverage and capacity needed to serve flight routes in this region, the type of antenna and radome to be used, and the certification requirements of such a solution.
In addition to the previous news story, Virgin Atlantic builds on in-flight entertainment innovation by adding live TV to 787s. Customers travelling with Virgin Atlantic this summer will now be able to tune in to live television onboard its 787’s, thanks to a partnership with Panasonic Avionics and IMG. This new service will be available to customers travelling on the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner and initially three channels will be available – Sport 24 for all the live sporting action from around the world, and BBC World News and CNN International for breaking news around the clock. Sport 24 will be showing action from the Rio 2016 Olympics Games, Premier League, NFL, UEFA Champions League, NBA, Tennis Grand Slams, Bundesliga, Formula 1, Golf Majors, MotoGP, and the Ryder Cup.
Recently, the folks at Honeywell conducted an interesting IFE Survey that begins: “In Honeywell’s third connectivity survey passengers shared increased frustration with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings. It’s clear that consistent, faster in-flight Wi-Fi is a must.”
Here is a quick review of the situation: “Nearly 3 of 4 passengers are ready to switch airlines today to have access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. In addition, out of more than 1,000 American travelers polled, annoyance is growing, with just 22 percent reporting their in-flight Wi-Fi to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.” The survey revealed three key reasons airlines need to act quickly or risk losing business:
1. Wi-Fi is the Premium Service Travelers Demand.
- Lack of in-flight Wi-Fi has become intolerable as passengers shared they’d be disappointed or frustrated without access to this service.
2. Wi-Fi Should Be Like Breathing. Simple, Reliable and Not Something Travelers’ Worry About.
- Reliable connections on flights anywhere in the world and fast speed to stream audio or video to sites like YouTube or Netflix are essential to passengers’ Wi-Fi experience.
3. Millennials Mean Business When it Comes to Wi-Fi.
- More millennials than older generations have switched from their preferred airline to an airline that has better in-flight Wi-Fi options.
Here is how the study unfolded: A survey of airline passengers by Honeywell (NYSE: HON) reveals more than increased frustration with current in-flight Wi-Fi offerings compared with the company’s 2014 study. Nearly 3 of 4 passengers are ready to switch airlines today to have access to a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connection. In addition, out of more than 1,000 American travelers polled, annoyance is growing, with just 22 percent reporting their in-flight Wi-Fi to be extremely reliable over the past 12 months, a dip from 27 percent in 2014.
If you don’t want to sort out their findings, the following is a summary: 1. Traveler Loyalty Lies With Wi-Fi, 2. Consistent Connections Are Critical Everywhere, 3. Millennials Value Wi-Fi More Than Most.
IFExpress really found some results interesting enough to ask a few more questions of Honeywell’s Gwennie Chung.
1. We would like to know more about the questionnaire?
ANS: The Honeywell Aerospace Connectivity 2016 Survey was conducted between April 11th and April 20th, 2016 among 1,008 Americans ages 18 and over who have used in-flight Wi-Fi in the last 12 months.
2. Where were they interviewed – on-line, mail?
ANS: Using an e-mail invitation and an online survey.
2. Are you talking about working Millennials or any other factors?
ANS: In this survey, Millennials are (travelers) born between 1982 and 1998.
3. Was travel price/cost involved. If not, why not?
ANS: Yes, we did have a question on pricing but the way it was framed, we find that it may not be relevant/accurate relative to the current landscape and decided not to use this data.
4. Domestic vs International connectivity preferences?
ANS: We did not distinguish domestic vs international for every question but… For a majority of travelers, it’s essential to experience a reliable connection throughout their entire flight anywhere in the world (90%), and fast speed to stream audio or video from sites like YouTube or Netflix (83%). (I myself, also don’t care where I’m traveling too, I would like to have the same service anywhere I’m going to.)
6. Preferences (when I did this stuff) were: 1.Airline, 2. Price, Time….IFE and Connectivity was 5th or 6th…and
I realize that was when planes had props, however, I would be interested in today’s preference order.
ANS: We did not have this ranking.
7. Did you get any results for old timers (like me)?
ANS: We did compare Millennials to older generations.
More millennials than older generations (73 percent versus 63 percent) say Wi-Fi availability impacts the flights they book. Because they value a connected experience more than older generations, more millennials find it important to have fast speed to stream content (89 percent versus 77 percent), and more than 1 in 4 have switched from their preferred airline to an airline with better in-flight Wi-Fi options (27 percent versus 15 percent).
8. Can you get any validation of the required bandwidth for a full plane of connectivity mavens… I am trying to figure out how much is “enough”!
ANS: Most travelers find it essential to experience a reliable connection throughout their entire flight anywhere in the world (90 percent), and one that is fast enough to stream audio or video from sites such as YouTube and Netflix (83 percent).
We don’t have any information to share on this as there are too many variables.
9 Did you separate demand/price for staggered connectivity – 1. Texting, 2. Email, 3. Surfing, 4.Streaming. Does Honeywell see
a variable pricing as a solution – “The more you pay, the more you get”?
ANS: No, we did not.
10. So here is the bottom line: Will people change airlines, regardless of flight or connectivity cost, just to have Internet?
ANS: As the survey data shows, more than 1 in 5 (21 percent) have already abandoned their preferred airline for an option with better in-flight Wi-Fi (up from 17 percent in 2014).”
(Editor’s Note: A “Thank You” to Gwennie and the the entire Honeywell team and we would like to add one thing – while the study focused on Wi-Fi because that is the connectivity of today on aircraft, we are aware that cheaper, non-WiFi solutions are in the works and we suspect technology like Bluetooth, which is on the horizon just might cause the term “connectivity” to be used instead of just Wi-Fi!)
Gogo is announcing that they have received regulatory approval from various Chinese regulatory bodies through their local partner China Telecom Satellite, and will work with China Telecom Satellite to offer in-flight connectivity service on international flights operating in and out of China starting in October. “This is really a ground-breaking moment as we expand our global reach as an organization into China and other parts of the world. For passengers on Gogo equipped flights currently flying into China, this means they will be able to enjoy seamless service once they reach Chinese air space,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small. “We believe China Telecom Satellite will be a very strong and effective partner for China’s in-flight communication market and both parties will extend the cooperation to Chinese airlines in the future.” We also note, Gogo currently has one International airline partner operating with service to China, and recently announced it has signed a term sheet with Beijing based Shareco Technologies to install its 2Ku in-flight connectivity technology on 50 commercial aircraft for Shareco’s airline partners, including Hainan Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines. In addition to in-flight connectivity, Gogo will also provide its wireless in-flight entertainment solution – Gogo Vision – for Shareco to install on these aircraft. Noted Michael Small: “For passengers, this means on Gogo equipped flights currently flying into China, they will be able to enjoy seamless service once they reach Chinese air space.” You can read more about this partnership on here on Concourse.
Sadly, we report: “I Just wanted to pass the news to you that I am leaving Thales for family reasons. I am moving back to TN and will be leaving the Aviation industry. Its been a great run but it is time to focus on my family after the last 10 years of much travel. Mike Moeller, Vice President, Business Development.”
(Editor’s Note: Mike, we will miss your animated presentations for sure, but mostly, we will miss your wonderfully fun and valuable show booth designs!)
OK, AS9100 Certification may not seem like a big deal to you (and we had to look it up) but it turns out that in aviation, quality management is a very big deal… with every airplane part! So, you might ask, what can be so difficult about setting up a Quality Assurance program? Plenty, in fact we counted well over 200 action items, systems, documents, records, developments, implements and more actions need to complete the certification. In fact, if you want to finally see what all this “quality” certification means, check out this “easy” outline of the cert actions
Notes IFPL: “IFPL are delighted to have achieved certification to AS9100C. This is a key stage in the develop- ment of IFPL and demonstrates that our Management Systems are mature and robust. IFPL recognizes that compliance with quality accreditations forms the foundations of their business success. Quality is in the DNA of the company culture, engaging employees to continually improve systems and products to benefit our customer satisfaction.
IFPL’s facility is based on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of the UK. The leadership team at IFPL ensures that the management system activities are carried out in accordance with the Quality Management System, the European Aviation Safety Agency requirements of EASA Part 21G and the newly awarded International Aerospace Standard AS9100C.”
They went on to say, “Quality, reliability, and safety are critical values for the aerospace industry. The BSI only award the certificate once their rigorous and stringent criteria has been met. Both of these certifications high- light IFPL’s commitment to meeting and exceeding the increasingly stringent industry requirements for aerospace related products and assures our manufacturing processes consistently meet or exceed the requirements and expectations of customers presenting the most challenging of applications.” And, in case you didn’t know, CEO Geoff Underwood founded IFPL almost 20 years ago and it has the largest portfolio of proven IFEC products and services in its sector. They are proud to supply the world’s leading inline manufacturers and airlines, who have come to rely on them to provide inspiration to the enhancement of their passengers’ experience; delivered through their innovative product design and proven reputation for reliability. For more information on the IFPL products check out the following link: IFPL – Connecting Your Passengers
1. 2Ku is now up and flying across three airline partners – Aeromexico, Delta and Virgin Atlantic
2. 2Ku is installed on about a dozen aircraft
3. Gogo has now received six STCs to install the technology on various aircraft types
4. By the end of 2016 Gogo expects to have 75-100 2Ku installations. For 2017 that number increases to 350-450 and in 2018 increases again to 500-700 install.
5.Gogo was selected by Delta Private Jets to equip its feet of >70 business jets with Gogo Biz 4G inflight connectivity for 2Q17.
6. Want see something cool? Watch this Gogo 2Ku hardware installation on a GOL B737-800 – Gogo Inflight Internet Video: Behind the scenes with the first Gogo 2Ku installation on GOL – Gogo Concourse
At the end of June, Inmarsat has announced that its advanced Global Xpress (GX) Aviation in-flight connectivity service has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the Airbus A320 aircraft family, bringing it a step closer to being available as line-fit or retrofit on every major Airbus and Boeing airframe. Here is a link for more information – GX Aviation certified for Airbus A320 aircraft – Inmarsat
OTHER (somewhat related) NEWS
1. We have to thank Bill Baltra for this one. Have you heard about ModoBag. Yep, you ride your bag now, and if you don’t believe it, check out this video – Modobag: World’s First Motorized, Rideable Luggage! – YouTube We contacted them but there was no response. you be the judge of their product if it achieves acceptability; besides, it might not look too cool in a skirt! Cruise the airport on top of a piece of motorized luggage
2. This may explain today’s aircraft Wi-Fi usage: Major study links low internet usage to slow broadband – BBC News
3. IFExpress recently asked Rich Salter (Engineering Consultant) about issues involved with security and IFEC and he had 3 points for your consideration:
a. There is an ARINC group addressing onboard cyber-security, and see the presentation made by Boeing’s Derek Schatz at a recent ARINC CSS meeting.
b. Panasonic has begun a partnership with hackers: Continuing what its Director of Security Engineering and Information Security Officer Michael Dierickx called a proactive approach to security, Panasonic Avionics Corporation developed a bug bounty program through HackerOne. The program is aimed at bolstering security of Panasonic’s inflight entertainment systems.
While the announcement coincided with the start of the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, the company will kick off the bug bounty program at the DefCon Conference later this week and will extend an invitation to participate to what Dierickx referred to as a select group of hackers.”We have extensive processes in place to identify potential and emerging vulnerabilities, and we also engage with security consultation firms who provide penetration testing and other services,” Dierickx said in a release. “Still, these teams bring a fresh perspective and innovative ways to search for potential issues.” (Editor’s Note: More on this next week.)
c. And we had an FAA man present on security at the last Tech Conference.
Finally, We should mention what the feds say about aviation security – this may be VERY timely: Securing the NextGen aviation network
4. If you are Traveling to the US, you might have to cough up your online presence! – Traveling to US? Agencies want to Spy on your Social Media activities right from Airport and Attention US-bound tourists: Social media accounts subject to inspection
5. SpeedNews reports: INMARSAT conducted survey that found 92% of airline pax would like to access onboard connectivity; 54% over inflight meals.
6. See if you are getting old by analyzing your travel messaging:
What is the impact of text and messaging apps on travel? | Hotel Management
7. Go ahead, spend the money on a good set of headphones: On airplanes, good headphones make good neighbors – Elliott
And lastly, we want to tell you about a publication that we think is really useful and incredibly data rich – it’s called Airline Weekly and it is delivered by the internet each Monday. The Weekly is usually 12 pages long and covers airline/airport happenings worldwide. The Weekly is a subscriber-supported publication, paid for by readers who want a more interesting, more valuable read about the airline business. Each Monday, Airline Weekly reports who’s flying where, new marketing approaches, fleet, finance and key airline and airport data. And most importantly, Airline Weekly readers will enjoy insightful analysis and new ideas found nowhere else. For example, the weekly sections include: Weekly News Review, Fleet Info, Finance, Marketing, Airports, Environment, Routes & Networks, and Around the World. If you want worldwide airline info, this publication is the one… and, they will give you a few free publications for your evaluation. Get it! Airline Weekly – Shouldn’t a publication about an interesting industry be, well, interesting?
Also, you might want to check out their weekly podcast. It is a great weekly update.
- The Un-carrier takes the worry out of summer travel to the No.1 overseas destination, with unlimited high-speed data across all of Europe all summer long—at absolutely no extra cost
- Stateside travelers, including Verizon and AT&T customers #GetThanked too with a free, full hour of Gogo Wi-Fi on ALL flights this weekend
Bellevue, WA | June 23, 2016– T-Mobile just showed again why it is the Official Sponsor of Summer.* The Un-carrier today announced it’s unleashing summer travel, giving customers unlimited high-speed data, up to 4G LTE speeds, throughout Europe all summer long. But, of course, T-Mobile didn’t stop there. For those travelling this weekend, T-Mobile announced it’s giving absolutely everyone – including Verizon and AT&T customers who never get thanked by their carrier – a full, free hour of Wi-Fi on all Gogo-equipped domestic flights—just to show everyone what it feels like to #GetThanked with the Un-carrier.
On top of that, T-Mobile today announced that Un-carrier customers can roam worry-free in Belize starting July 1st. Belize is joining the long list of 140+ countries and destinations where Simple Choice customers get unlimited data and texting and low, flat-rate calling while travelling abroad.
“The carriers see your summer trip as the perfect occasion to slam you with insane international roaming charges. When you travel with the Un-carrier, you’ll never come home to surprise overages or crazy fees,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “Travel with T-Mobile, and you can use your phone the way you want to without thinking twice! Share every fantastic moment and don’t pay a penny more for your data!”
Cut Loose and Stay Connected this Summer in Europe
Far and away the single most popular overseas travel destination every summer is Europe, where more than 2.5 million Americans are expected to vacation this summer. So, starting July 1st all the way through August 31st, T-Mobile’s giving Simple Choice customers unlimited high-speed data across all of Europe** – all at absolutely no additional cost – so you can share, Skype, snap and scope every moment of your European holiday. Customers get the highest available data speeds wherever they travel across the continent. And, as always, texting is free around the globe with T-Mobile, and calls are just 20 cents a minute throughout Europe and a host of other destinations.
That couldn’t be more different than the carriers’ approach to tax and toll everything you do with your phone outside the country. For example, if a Verizon customer used their phone normally during a two-week holiday in Rome, they could come home to upwards of $2,730 in international roaming fees.
If you travel with T-Mobile, your phone just works – exactly like it should – at exactly $0 extra for unlimited data and texting. And the best part? Customers don’t have to lift a finger to get these Un-carrier benefits. All of which makes T-Mobile the only choice for summer travel.
This Weekend, Everybody Flies Like a T-Mobile Customer
Just a few weeks after unveiling Un-carrier 11, an industry-rocking move dedicated to thanking customers, the Un-carrier’s now offering everyone a chance to #GetThanked like a T-Mobile customer. The millions of Americans expected to fly this weekend can get a taste of what it means to be part of the Un-carrier—even those long-abused AT&T and Verizon customers.
Starting this Friday, June 24 through Sunday, June 26, passengers on any domestic flight with Gogo service can automatically get one free hour of Wi-Fi on their smartphone, courtesy T-Mobile. That’s a free full hour coming and going on every flight with Gogo service—more than 33,000 flights this weekend alone!
“We want to show everybody what it feels like to #GetThanked and travel like a T-Mobile customer!” said Legere.
While this offer for everyone flying this weekend ends Sunday at 11:00pm ET, T-Mobile customers will always enjoy free messaging and texting all flight long, plus a full free hour of Gogo Wi-Fi on your smartphone on all Gogo-equipped domestic flights, courtesy the Un-Carrier. For more information on what it’s like flying with T-Mobile, visit www.t-mobile.com/offer/free-in-flight-wifi-texting-uncarrier.
Belize Completes the Picture for South & Central America
Finally, for the tens of thousands of Americans who travel each year to Belize to enjoy its natural beauty and pristine beaches, T-Mobile also announced that Belize is will be part of Simple Global starting July 1st. Meaning T-Mobile customers can travel to all 20 countries in South & Central America – from the tip of Patagonia in Chile to that scuba spot in Belize – and never have to worry about data roaming or texting charges.
With Simple Global, which launched in 2013, T-Mobile Simple Choice customers get unlimited data and texting and low, flat-rate calling for just 20 cents a minute in over 140 countries and destinations around the world.
For more information about travelling with T-Mobile, check out http://www.t-mobile.com/optional-services/roaming.html.
- DPJ is first FAA-certificated Part 135 air carrier to add Gogo Biz 4G service to fleet
Erlanger, KY and Broomfield, CO | June 15, 2016– A first-of-its-kind fleet-wide agreement between Delta Private Jets, Inc. (DPJ) and Gogo Inc. (GOGO) will soon deliver a 4G inflight experience to DPJ’s customers.
DPJ, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines (DAL), plans to equip its fleet of more than 70 aircraft with Gogo Biz 4G to provide a superior service to passengers. The new service will enable a reliable 4G experience – including services such as Gogo Vision, providing the latest movies, TV, flight tracker, weather reports, and additional features; Gogo Text & Talk, allowing passengers to call and text with their personal smart phones and mobile numbers; streaming video and audio; as well as face-to-face conversations with a user’s favorite applications; email with attachments; web browsing; and more – on a proven network in the continental U.S. and large portions of Alaska and Canada.
Delta Private Jets is the only private jet company affiliated with a major commercial airline – an unmatched competitive advantage in a fractured marketplace. Providing this unique technology offering is one in a series of enhancements that DPJ will be introducing to ensure a seamless, comfortable and convenient experience for customers from takeoff to landing.
“We are excited to bring this technology to the discerning customers who turn to Delta Private Jets for their specialized travel needs,” said David Sneed, Executive Vice president and Chief Operating Officer of DPJ. “We are also proud to further differentiate our company by becoming the first to offer Gogo Biz 4G on a fleet-wide scale. After careful evaluation of the available options for inflight connectivity, it was clear that only Gogo could deliver a robust experience on a proven network.”
Gogo is the leading provider of inflight connectivity and wireless in-flight entertainment solutions to the global aero market. The new agreement builds upon its successful relationship serving Delta’s commercial fleet and represents the first multi-aircraft adoption of Gogo Biz 4G in the private aviation sector.
Gogo Biz 4G leverages Gogo’s existing air-to-ground network and technology which has already flown hundreds of thousands of hours aboard thousands of business and commercial aircraft. The Gogo Biz 4G equipment package incorporates dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi service and a host of other features – all from a single, lightweight box.
Following the successful completion of the initial phases of flight testing, Gogo Biz 4G remains on track for launch in the second quarter of 2017.
“Our goal is to deliver a robust 4G experience inflight,” said John Wade, Gogo Business Aviation’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. “After thorough testing on our existing network at altitude, including air and ground congestion, we are confident Gogo Biz 4G’s performance will meet the expectations of Delta Private Jets and delight its customers.”
(IFExpress Readers: It is fairly obvious which image above is the SITA robot, Leo. (the middle image). However, in searching for a good robotic image for this week’s story, we came across a number of pictures that caught our interest (and imagination) as you can see above – PLW)
While we had some fun with the concept of airport robots, the folks at SITA are very serious about the future of robot technology in use with aviation – in this week’s case, airport baggage handling. We talked with Stephane Cheikh from SITA Lab who answered a number of questions we thought our readers might find interesting. While the future is rather unclear as to the use of robots in aviation solutions, handling passenger baggage appears to be one logical application. So, we asked a few folks at SITA and their communication people about LEO. Leidar’s Charlie Pryor told IFExpress when we asked the question about the application: “It’s really part of a bigger story about automation throughout the airport. And it is very much a trial at this stage, albeit an interesting one of course.”
Here are a few questions we asked of Stephane:
1. IFExpress: Let’s get started with robot power, we assume it is charged via wall power during the night and via alkaline or lead batteries while in use?
“Leo runs on two lead batteries which can last between 24 to 48 hours depending on the type of operations required. The robot is programmed to autonomously return to its base station to get charged when it’s running low on battery power.”
2. IFExpress: Please describe the way a human interacts with the robot?
“Leo does not directly communicate with passengers. In the case of Geneva Airport Leo was positioned outside the terminal building. Touching Leo’s Scan&Fly bag drop interface opens the baggage compartment doors to allow passengers to place their bags inside. After the passengers have scanned their boarding passes, the tags are printed and can be attached to the bags. With the bags loaded and tagged, the compartment door closes and Leo displays the boarding gate and departure time.”
“Leo then takes the bags directly to the baggage handling area where they are sorted and connected to the correct flight while the passenger heads straight to the gate, bypassing the check-in hall. Being a fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot, Leo is able to transport bags from the point of bag drop to where they are handed over to be injected into the baggage handling system.
The doors of the robot can only be reopened by the operator unloading the baggage in the airport. For the purpose of the proof of concept at Geneva Airport, the baggage robot was monitored at all times.”
3. IFExpress: Please describe how it finds its way to the required destination? I presume robot speed is fixed?
“Using GPS technology, Leo is programmed to follow a specific route from where the bag drop takes place to where the bags are handed over and injected into the baggage handling system. The robot’s speed is fixed but is able to stop if it detects passengers passing in front of it.”
4. IFExpress: Will airport inside destinations required any new facility construction?
“SITA hopes to continue further trials and proof of concepts to probe how robots such as Leo can be incorporated into airports. This will vary from customer to customer. SITA continues to work with the industry to ensure that the baggage robot is able to meet the requirements of our airport customers.”
5. IFExpress: Has an approximate cost/price been determined of the robot?
“Leo is still a proof of concept and as such SITA is unable to provide a cost or price.”
6. IFExpress: Please describe and detail the human/movement sensors and protections?
“The robot has two laser-based sensors: one in front and one at the back of Leo. The robot is programmed to stop when the sensors detect an object either in front or behind. Sometimes if an object is close but still a safe distance away, the robot will decelerate until it is free of the object and then re-accelerate.
Leo also has an obstacle avoidance mode where it will go around an object – within certain thresholds.”
7. IFExpress: If I were an airline or airport, why would I want this device/system in my airport?
“During the trial at Geneva Airport, Leo demonstrated how, by taking the bag drop process out of the terminal building, the number of trolleys and bags in the terminal could be significantly reduced.
Leo also provides an early glimpse into the future of baggage processing and handling being explored by SITA Lab, SITA’s technology research team. Using robotics and artificial intelligence, bags will be collected, checked in, transported and loaded onto the correct flight without ever having to enter the terminal building or be directly handled by anyone other than the passengers themselves.”
8. IFExpress: Are there any rough technical specs available?
“As Leo is still in a developmental stage, we are not able to disclose more details than what has already been provided above.”
9. IFExpress: How would an airline or airport contact SITA/manufacturer of the robots if they wanted to test out a system?
“Airlines or airports can reach out their SITA representatives in their respective regions or contact us through the www.sita.aero website.”
(And yes, this is not an IFEC story per se; however, we wanted to check in on the future of robot technology in our business. Interestingly, SITA has been working the robot solution for some time now and, who knows, it may even be on an airplane in the future… and you may get your future headsets from one – Patricia Wiseman, Editor)
1: Here is a news release from Gogo about their new relationship with Aeromexico: Today, Gogo partner Aeromexico announced the launch of a pilot program to provide complimentary in-flight access to Netflix. Netflix members onboard select Aeromexico flights within Mexico, Central & South America will be able to stream the best programming available in the skies, including hit series Orange Is The New Black, Club de Cuervos and Chef’s Table, on their phones, tablets, and laptops at no cost starting on June 17th and through October 17th 2016.
The “Netflixabordo” experience is made possible by our next generation 2Ku satellite wifi system, which offers passengers a ground-like experience, including the ability to stream video.”As the first airline to launch with Gogo’s new 2Ku technology, we couldn’t be more excited to help Aeromexico bring this great new passenger experience to life,” said Dave Bijur, Gogo’s regional president. “Gogo’s industry-leading 2Ku technology is enabling passengers to connect using any Wi-Fi enabled device and experience all of Netflix’s hit series just as they would at home.”
“Passengers on aircraft equipped with the new Gogo 2Ku technology will be notified by the Aeromexico in-flight team that they can access high-speed WiFi. Clients can then open their browser and login for free. Passengers will then be prompted to either login to their existing Netflix account or to create a new, 30-day free trial account, after which they will then be connected to the Netflix service up in the air, just like they would on the ground. Existing account holders onboard Gogo 2ku Aeromexico aircraft will be able to access Netflix at no additional cost through October 17th, while new members can sign up to enjoy a 30-day free Netflix trial – good for use both in the air, on Aeromexico 2Ku-equipped aircrafts, or on the ground.”
Gogo told IFExpress: “Netflix offering is available to everyone flying that has an account. For those passengers that might not have an account, they are able to sign up for the free 30-day trial to take advantage of this partnership. In terms of bandwidth, we are confident that 2Ku can handle the amount of people on an aircraft that will choose to stream.” – Morgan Painter
Here is another release you might find interesting – Gogo Inc. Announces Launch of $500 Million Senior Secured Notes Offering – Jun 9, 2016
2: IFE manufacturers might just have to consider a new baggage use for a totally new application – World’s First Passenger Drone to Begin Testing
3: You might want to check out the 35th DASC in Sacramento CA, Sept 25/29, and here are just a couple reasons: MA1: Modern Avionics Architectures – Tim Etherington, Rockwell-Collins and MM2: Aircraft Systems, Safety and Cyber-security: RTCA DO-326A guidance – Laurent Fabre, Critical Systems Labs –www.dasconline.org
4: Here is a new IFE & Connectivity Show in the US – IFE and Connectivity USA. And, it is co-located with Innovative Aircraft Seating – USA, June 27 – 28 in Seattle, WA!
5: From an article in ArsTechnica on creating VPN lists, we found this interesting comment – “The best use case for consumer VPNs is local network security, especially on public Wi-Fi networks in airports, hotels, cafes, and even on airplanes (especially since GoGo has been caught issuing fake HTTP certificates for YouTube, which could expose all user traffic—including users’ YouTube passwords—to the inflight broadband provider).” Here is the story
- Paris’ Le Bourget airport is first to be equipped with wireless content delivery network for Gogo Vision
EBACE,Geneva, Switzerland | May 25, 2016– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading provider of in-flight connectivity and wireless in-flight entertainment solutions to the global aero market, today announced that Gogo Cloud, the company’s wireless content delivery network, is expanding into Europe with service available at select locations.
Gogo Cloud is currently available at the Jetex FBO at Paris-Le Bourget Airport (LFPB), and will be installed at two additional FBOs in the United Kingdom by the end of August 2016: London City Airport Jet Centre (LCY) and TAG Farnborough Airport (FAB) located just outside central London.
All three are key strategic locations in two of Europe’s largest and most important cities for business travellers. Paris-Le Bourget was the busiest business aviation airport in Europe last year with more than 50,000 movements, and TAG Farnborough consistently ranks in the top five busiest business airports in Europe. Additional FBOs will be added in Europe throughout 2017.
“Gogo Cloud is about ease of use and peace of mind because the service is automatic delivering large data files to aircraft ensuring a quality in-flight entertainment experience,” said John Wade, executive vice president and general manager for Gogo Business Aviation. “Our customers in Europe have heard how well the service works in the U.S. and wanted us to bring it across the Atlantic. What we’re announcing today at EBACE is the start of an expansion that will spread to other locations across Europe.”
The first service of its kind in the business aviation market, Gogo Cloud allows customers of Gogo Vision – the company’s in-flight entertainment (IFE) service – to automatically receive the latest updates whenever they visit a Gogo Cloud location. Gogo Vision serves up a licensed library of the hottest Hollywood movies and TV shows. It also includes features such as news, a flight tracker, flight progress information, destination weather, screen sharing, and in-cabin file transfer.
When an aircraft arrives at a Gogo Cloud location, Gogo’s UCS 5000 smart-cabin system automatically connects to the Gogo Cloud Wi-Fi signal and does a complete content update without any intervention from the flight crew. The transfer takes place at ultra-high speed – typically less than 60 seconds to load a 30-minute TV episode, and about three minutes for a feature-length movie. The UCS 5000 system is business aviation’s first all-in-one smart router/media server.
Gogo Cloud Available for Individual Flight Department Facilities
Equipment packages are also available to individual flight departments that want to bring the convenience of Gogo Vision IFE updates to their own facilities. A simple equipment package, which is included with a UCS smart-cabin system purchase, turns a hangar into a Gogo Cloud location providing continuous, fully automatic updates any time their aircraft is at that location.
Geneva, Switzerland | May 23, 2016– Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading provider of in-flight connectivity and wireless in-flight entertainment solutions to the global aero market, has added Jet ConneX service for business aircraft operators flying globally.
“Gogo is pleased to offer Jet ConneX service to the global business aviation market,” said John Wade, Gogo Business Aviation’s executive vice president and general manager. “Our customers expect Gogo to offer extensive, global support to business aircraft operators who purchase the service. Our back-office systems are in place and our team is prepared to support customers worldwide as the service comes on line.”
With the addition of Jet ConneX service, Gogo Business Aviation offers one of the business aviation market’s widest selections of in-flight voice and data services which include Gogo Biz®, SwiftBroadband, Classic Aero, Swift64, Iridium, terrestrial 3G and Gogo Cloud for automated content delivery.
Gogo’s support capabilities will allow Jet ConneX customers to integrate with other services – including other equipment, network services and in-flight entertainment – for a complete and seamless in-flight digital experience. Gogo customers also receive the convenience of single-source activation, support and consolidated monthly billing.
Gogo will offer innovative airtime and support programs for Jet ConneX, Inmarsat’s Ka-band connectivity service, that will allow customers to select from a range of performance tiers and data packages, using the same Jet ConneX equipment package they have installed on their aircraft.
Jet ConneX Supported Applications
- Stream TV in real time
- High-speed broadband Internet access
- Video calling and conferencing
- High quality Voice over IP
- SMS messaging
- Large file transfers
- VPN access
- Flight deck and cabin crew applications
To learn more about Gogo’s Jet ConneX offering in Europe, aircraft operators are invited to contact Dave Perry, regional sales manager for Europe, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, Gogo Business Aviation is displaying its complete range of in-flight connectivity and entertainment solutions at EBACE 2016. Business aircraft operators are invited to visit Gogo at stand D051. More information is available on Gogo’s EBACE 2016 landing page and by following @GogoBizAv on Twitter for in-show updates.
Chicago, IL | May 23, 2016– Gogo Inc. (Nasdaq: GOGO) announced the pricing of $525 million aggregate principal amount of 12% senior secured notes due 2022 (the “Notes”) to be issued by its direct wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Intermediate Holdings LLC (the “Issuer”), and its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Finance Co. Inc. (the “Co-Issuer” and, together with the Issuer, the “Issuers”). The offering is expected to close on May 26, 2016, subject to certain closing conditions. The Notes will be guaranteed on a senior secured basis by Gogo Inc. and all of its existing and future domestic restricted subsidiaries, subject to certain exceptions (the “Guarantors”). The Notes and the related guarantees will be secured by first priority liens on substantially all of the Issuers’ and the Guarantors’ assets, including pledged equity interests of the Issuers and the Guarantors.
The Issuer intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from the sale of the Notes to repay its outstanding indebtedness under its existing senior term credit facility and to use the remaining net proceeds for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including potential costs associated with the launch and commercial rollout of Gogo’s next-generation technology solutions.
The Notes and the guarantees will be offered in a private offering exempt from the registration requirements of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The Notes and the guarantees will be offered only to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act and to non-U.S. persons outside the United States in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act.
The Notes and the guarantees have not been registered under the Securities Act and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state laws.
This press release is for informational purposes only and is not an offer to sell or purchase nor the solicitation of an offer to sell or purchase securities and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any state or jurisdiction in which, or to any person to whom such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.
- Global connectivity provider enhances loyalty program with more options and flexibility
Geneva, Switzerland | May 24, 2016– EBACE (stand D051) – Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO), the leading provider of in-flight connectivity and wireless in-flight entertainment solutions to the global aero market, is deepening its commitment to the European business aviation market with expanded programs and new staff announced at this week’s European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva.
Gogo today unveiled a refined customer loyalty program that makes the benefits of global inflight connectivity more accessible than ever.
Highlights of the new loyalty program include:
- Shorter Term – from five years to a three-year commitment
- Transferable Service – in case an equipped aircraft is sold
- Monthly Payment Plan – No annual up-front payment required
The Gogo loyalty program enables select, existing and former Gogo customers to receive SwiftBroadband equipment packages at no cost when they complete installation at an authorized Gogo dealer and activate a new SwiftBroadband airtime contract with Gogo. It’s an offer worth up to $92,500.
“Gogo has a longstanding reputation for creating the industry’s most generous and creative loyalty programs,” said John Wade, Gogo Business Aviation’s executive vice president and general manager. “We listened to feedback from our customer base and altered our loyalty program to make it even better with more pricing options, a shorter time commitment and transferable service. Connectivity plays such an important role in people’s lives today and we believe the enhancements we’ve made will give business travelers greater access to a fully connected, global inflight experience.”
Inflight connectivity services dramatically increase the productivity and enjoyment of the business aviation travel experience for passengers and flight crews. The services can also increase aircraft resale values and provide a competitive edge in charter and fractional markets. Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband service provides voice and data services with near-global coverage at all altitudes and on the ground.
Installation and certification costs at an authorized Gogo dealer are the responsibility of the customer.
Dave Perry Joins Gogo Staff, Based in London
Gogo continues to expand its presence in Europe and announces the hiring of Dave Perry as United Kingdom sales manager. Perry, based in London, will help customers with their inflight connectivity needs and is responsible for all sales and support activities throughout Europe. He’s well equipped to serve the European market with nearly 20 years of international sales and business development experience in satellite network services and technology firms.
This week, Gogo Business Aviation is displaying its complete range of in-flight connectivity and entertainment solutions at EBACE2016. Business aircraft operators are invited to visit Gogo at stand D051. More information is available on Gogo’s EBACE 2016 landing page and by following @GogoBizAv on Twitter for in-show updates.
Chicago, IL | May 20, 2016– Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO), the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, announced today that it has partnered with aerospace software specialist PACE to connect PACEs’ Pacelab Flight Profile Optimizer – the leading flight optimization application.
Pacelab Flight Profile Optimizer is a unique decision support tool developed for a pilot’s electronic flight bag (EFB) that’s designed to continuously evaluate numerous flight data metrics thus optimizing flight paths for maximum efficiency. Under this partnership, the Pacelab Flight Profile Optimizer application will be connected in real time so a pilot will be able to adapt to changing conditions while in flight to reduce fuel burn and to improve ontime performance.
This partnership is another example of the value of the connected aircraft and the benefit of having access to real time data and information while in flight.
“By partnering with PACE, we establish a direct relationship to help market and integrate with each other’s products while accelerating speed to market and providing a clear path for adoption of this valuable fuel savings tool into airline operations,” said Andrew Kemmetmueller, Gogo’s vice president of connected aircraft services. “Gogo continues to move beyond the passenger connectivity arena and is rapidly enabling the era of the connected aircraft.”
“En-route flight profile optimization enables flight crews to unlock substantial additional fuel savings,” said Oliver Kranz, PACE’s managing partner. “Many airlines have yet to realize the full potential of the connected EFB, and our partnership with Gogo highlights this attractive business case.”